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Roger Williams challenges secretary of state over bovine TB

2009 Tachwedd 2 8:05 AM

Roger Williams, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire and Liberal Democrat Shadow Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson, today challenged Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, over the Government's policy for tackling bovine TB and the work of the Tuberculosis Eradication Group (TBEG).

Speaking after the exchange, Mr Williams said:

"Bovine TB results in thousands of cattle being slaughtered across England and Wales every year and a herd breakdown can be the death of a struggling farm business.

"The Government established TBEG to look at possible policy options that could result in a reduction of the number of bovine TB cases.

"The group are due to report back soon and I felt it important to raise the issue of the groups work and to ensure that their report is acted upon.

"To establish such a group and then not act on their recommendations would be a waste of time for all those involved

"The Secretary of State responded that he has accepted the recommendations of the latest report but he would not commit to acting upon the final report's recommendations until he knew what it contained.

"There are persistent rumours that evidence is emerging that the "perturbation effect" at the edge of the cull area is not having the effect of increasing TB outbreaks.

"If this evidence does exist it should be made available to TBEG for the work they are doing and also made available to the Welsh Assembly Government.

"I will continue to press the Secretary of State to ensure that this information is published as soon as possible and made available to the farming community."