The bovine TB situation is continuing to deteriorate in Pembrokeshire, the latest official statistics show.

The High West area, which includes all of Pembrokeshire, shows that herd incidence of the disease between April 2023 and March 2024 was 12.4% compared to 9.1% in the previous 12 months.

Herd incidence is the rate of new herd incidents per 100 herds at risk, therefore it measures the number of new breakdowns.

Herd prevalence, the percentage of all registered herds which are not officially TB free (OTF) due to a TB incident, was 11.5% at 31 March 2024, up from 9.3%.

This figure measures the number of herds living under TB restrictions.

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Pembrokeshire has one of the highest number of farms with TB herd breakdowns in the whole of the UK.

In Wales overall, there were 11,197 cattle slaughtered over 12 months between April 2023 and March this year – up from 9,585 on the previous year, an increase of 17%.

NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader described the TB data as “really bleak’’ and had come at a time when farmers “really need to have some hope’’.

“Bovine TB is the most contentious farming issue in Welsh agriculture and, with an election coming up, farmers will be looking at what a new government might be able to do for them to make their lives easier,’’ she said.

“I appreciate that agricultural policy is devolved, but politicians must do more to tackle TB.”

Recent developments include the formation of a Bovine TB Technical Advisory Group, a programme which will soon kick in.

Ms Reader urged Members of the Senedd to listen to the recommendations of the group, to “act on them and follow the science.”

Last year the Welsh Government launched a new project in Pembrokeshire involving 15 farms.

The ‘Pembrokeshire Pilot’ involves historic TB skin test data being used to develop better management protocols to manage ‘near misses’ out of the herd, in a bid to lower TB rates on these farms.

The ambition of the project is to officially regain TB-free status for those currently under long-term restrictions.