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Bovine TB group calls for meeting.

THE Farmers' Union of Wales is demanding an emergency meeting of the UK bovine tuberculosis forum following the Government's sudden decision to suspend part of the Krebbs trials.

'It is imperative that members of the TB forum meet as a matter of the utmost urgency with Defra Minister Ben Bradshaw to discuss this surprising development,' said Evan R Thomas, the FUW's representative on the forum, who has written to request an early meeting of the group.

'I believe that this is a disgraceful way to treat a farming industry that has fully co-operated throughout these trials.

'We were told that the Government could not decide on any course of action until the trials were completed in 2006. Now they have called a halt to a major part of this exercise without consulting the industry.'

Mr Thomas said it was wrong for the Minister to announce a change of course without first discussing the matter with the TB forum.

'This sorry episode leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth,' he said.

Mr Thomas welcomed a comment by the National Federation of Badger Groups in which it acknowledged for the first time that badgers can transmit bovine TB to cattle.

NFBG chief executive Dr Elaine King said the reactive culling data confirmed there was a bovine TB link between badgers and cattle.

She went on to call for tighter cattle movement restrictions and improved cattle TB testing regimes.

Mr Thomas said her comment was a recognition that infected badgers could pass on the disease to cattle.

'This is a fact that the union has stressed over many years, but which has previously been ignored by a number of animal welfare groups.'

Last week the Government announced its decision to suspend the section of the Krebbs trials involving the reactive culling of badgers in test areas where cattle have tested positive for bovine TB.

The other two parts of the trial, involving the trapping and killing of badgers in a designated area or the monitoring of badger setts, will continue.

Researchers have reported that instances of bovine TB in cattle have increased in reactive culling areas.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 10, 2003
Words:354
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