A bovine TB working group will be meeting for the first time this week.

The Bovine TB Technical Advisory Group (TAG), introduced by Huw Irranca-Davies MS, cabinet secretary for climate change and rural affairs, will hold its first session on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

Set to be chaired by Professor Glyn Hewinson, the TAG brings together experts from across the veterinary and scientific fields.

Mr Hewinson, the Sêr Cymru Chair of the TB Centre of Excellence in Aberystwyth, will lead the group.

Notably, he and Mr Irranca-Davies recently visited a farm participating in some groundbreaking Welsh Government-funded work, part of the Pembrokeshire Project.

The group's members include Robert Smith, a clinical scientist and public health infectious disease epidemiologist; David Grove-White, a retired veterinary surgeon who was head of the department of livestock health and welfare; Gareth Enticott, a professor of human geography at Cardiff University; and Sarah Tomlinson, a farm vet with two decades of clinical practice experience and is technical director of the Defra-funded TB Advisory Service.

Several experienced veterinary surgeons and lecturers including Gwenllian Rees, Gareth Edwards, Ifan Lloyd, Keith Cutler and Sarah Woollatt, also make up the group.

First on the group's agenda, is a thorough review of the current on-farm slaughter policy.

This follows the Welsh Government's recognition of the significant impact Bovine TB has on the mental health of Welsh farmers.

Accordingly, it is understood that the TAG will invite external organisations to provide evidence and inform their discussions.

"The TAG will meet quarterly," said Mr Irranca-Davies.

Ahead of the establishment of the forthcoming TB Programme Board, TAG's recommendations will be passed to the chief veterinary officer, Richard Irvine.

Thereafter, the board will provide advice to the Welsh ministers.

Shared by Mr Irranca-Davies, this sentiment underscores the importance of community projects such as the one visited last Thursday, April 11, in Pembrokeshire.

He said that this type of collaborative approach, as seen in the Pembrokeshire visit, is at the heart of the eradication programme.