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Wales goes from leader to limbo on TB eradication

19/07/2022

Westminster decision highlights impact of Labour’s dithering

Plaid Cymru’s Rural Affairs spokesperson has given his reaction to news that the Westminster government will be introducing a badger cull in England to tackle the issue of bovine TB. Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM said that the decision to press ahead with a targeted cull in England put Labour’s dithering in Wales into perspective.

The North Wales AM said that Wales had gone from leading the way in eradicating bTB under a Plaid Cymru Minister to being left behind by other parts of the UK as Labour ignored the needs of rural communities.

Mr Huws Gruffydd was also keen to highlight the difference in approach between Wales and England as the previous Welsh government planned to use specialists contractors to ensure a humane and controlled approach, as opposed to the Westminster government’s intention to allow farmers to undertake the cull.

Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM said:

“When Plaid Cymru was at the helm of the Rural Affairs portfolio, Wales was leading the way in attempts to eradicate bovine TB. The One Wales government outlined a holistic and wide ranging approach in order to tackle this terrible disease that was designed to safeguard livestock and support rural communities. In Wales we had a clear plan ready to get underway, based on scientific evidence. That evidence has not changed.

“Today’s announcement by Westminster puts the new Labour government’s U-turn in even sharper focus. The Welsh plans were designed to be as humane as possible ensuring an effective and controlled eradication policy. The delays from Labour ministers mean that agricultural businesses are being hit as bTB continue to ravage rural communities. People in those communities across Wales will rightfully be questioning why the Labour government is willing to turn its back on an agreed way forward when other parts of the UK are taking action. Wales was leading the way in standing up for rural communities but Labour has placed the agriculture industry in limbo through their inaction.”

In reaction to the announcement of the appointment of Professor Chris Gaskell as chair of the Welsh government’s Badger Cull review, Llyr Huws Gruffydd added:

“I welcome the appointment of Professor Gaskell who is a respected figure in this field. But I do remain concerned that this process is proving unnecessarily slow and we still do not have an end date for when the review will finish.”