Bovine TB Restrictions Bring Huge Costs, Survey Reveals; FUW: Case Studies Illustrate How Additional Expenses Can Hit Farm Incomes

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

Bovine TB Restrictions Bring Huge Costs, Survey Reveals; FUW: Case Studies Illustrate How Additional Expenses Can Hit Farm Incomes


A SURVEY by the Farmers' Union of Wales has revealed farmers whose farms have been hit by bovine tuberculosis face huge ancillary costs. Although farmers receive the market value for cattle that test positive for the disease, extra restrictions and loss of income experienced as a result can run into several thousand pounds.

This evidence, gathered from a series of case studies, was presented to Glyn Davies AM, chairman of the National Assembly's Rural Affairs Committee, at an FUW-organised meeting in Pembrokeshire.

The survey also revealed that in some cases new equipment must be bought to comply with bovine TB regulations which require infected animals be separated from the rest of the stock.

If TB is found on a farm, no stock is allowed to leave, which not only causes a loss in sales income, but also leads to increased livestock feed costs. Periodic testing of the animals has also led in some cases to extra labour having to be employed. On dairy farms, the loss of milk production also has a long-term effect on incomes.

The research was gathered by the FUW's executive officer in Pembrokeshire, Rebecca Williams, and covers Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion - a hotspot for bovine TB with 103 herds under TB restrictions.

"These case studies prove that there are considerable additional costs associated with a TB breakdown on the farm, " said Miss Williams. "These costs are not always immediately evident, such as the additional feed that needs to be brought in to the farm. But over a period of time they can add up to a considerable sum."

One farmer said he had to spend pounds 670 to create isolation pens alone, while another estimated the additional labour costs associated with testing and general husbandry to be more than pounds 2,000.

"None of this additional expense can be recovered by the farmer, " said Miss Williams. …

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