Welsh Markets’ Biosecurity Scandal Exposed by Viva!

Industry accused of “shocking own goal” whilst blaming badgers for TB

APPALLING biosecurity lapses have been filmed at three Welsh livestock markets in an area suffering from widespread TB infections in cattle.

Following the recent elections, Animal group Viva! – which has thousands of supporters in Wales – is urging the Welsh Assembly to drop plans to kill badgers in what the group believes is a misguided attempt to control bovine TB. It was previously believed that a wildlife ‘cull’ may take place imminently if Assembly plans go ahead.(1)

You can view Viva’s edited footage on You Tube here -

Having previously sent the footage to rural affairs minister Elin Jones, the group is now sending their findings to Welsh Labour leader Carywn Jones urging his party to stop plans for a ‘cull’ ahead of appointing a new rural affairs minister.Viva! has accused the Welsh Assembly and the farming industry of allowing TB in through the backdoor whilst wrongly blaming Welsh wildlife for the spread of the disease. Despite the Welsh Government’s official guidelines urging good biosecurity at markets to stop disease spread (and highlighting that they are legally binding (2)) the group says that disregard for the most basic biosecurity measures appeared to be endemic in Welsh markets and could be a major risk factor in spreading TB to cattle in the country.

Carmarthen Market (Wednesday 30 March 2011)
97 per cent of visitors are filmed ignoring simple biosecurity measures despite clearly marked signs asking them to dip their feet and wear appropriate footwear. This is a potential significant route to spread infection. (3)

Whitland Market (Wednesday 30 March 2011)
No biosecurity measures are initially in place as the market begins, despite being designated as a Red/TB cattle market (where cattle under disease restrictions are sold for slaughter and risk of the spread of TB is high).An Animal Health official exclaims amazement on camera that she recently watched tested and non-tested cattle being widely mixed at a recent Carmarthen market. She says she was “seething”. This is a serious biosecurity infringement. (4)

Cardigan Market (Monday 4 April 2011)
Despite being within the Intensive Action Area, not a single person was observed following simple biosecurity precautions such as dipping boots at this market. (5)A worker for a tag making company admits that tag swapping by sheep producers is widespread. This could be indicative of similar practices in cattle farming, which have recently come to light in England. (6)

Viva!’s campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: “Why do farmers appear to be so willing to pull the trigger on the country’s wildlife when they are clearly ignoring a problem much closer to home? Biosecurity appears to be treated with absolute contempt by most people who visit Welsh markets if our footage is anything to go by. It’s not rocket science, bad biosecurity at markets has the potential to be a major route of infection. People should be angry that badgers are being made a scapegoat judging by what we saw, is it any wonder that TB has spread like wildfire through parts of the country?“

We are calling on Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour to dump plans to kill badgers in Wales, as we believe that this footage is damning and is likely indicative of general practice at Welsh markets. Why should Welsh wildlife die when even the simplest precautions against disease are so flagrantly flouted? We’ve said it before – and we’ll say it again – bad farming practices and previous bad political decisions are at the root of the TB epidemic, not badgers.”

One Response to “Welsh Markets’ Biosecurity Scandal Exposed by Viva!

  1. cattle tb is about three things one is money politics and trade;;there isnt a single animal cow or badger with tb ,, but how can i convey this message to a minister.. and when the next generation of ministers come along they will be baffeled about this t b scandal .. fair play to the —-s that are keeping going the vets and defra ## i never knew that the irish and english farmers were so innocent and stupid ,god help them// the biggest joke of all is putting these so called deseased animals into the food chain… the ministers that allow this to happen ,in other countries if they put deseased meat into the food chain ,, they would be arrested and executed,, people please . please . please;; wake up to one of the greatest scandals ,,corruption /scaremongring ..in living memory,