Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food
The Cymorth TB pilot, which ran from October 2013 to May 2014, was put in place to evaluate possible roles for private vets in the management of TB breakdowns, and to consider ways in which these vets could give enhanced support to herd keepers. An evaluation report of the pilot produced by Cardiff University has now been published. The report is a very positive assessment of the pilot and makes 8 recommendations as to areas that might enhance a future Cymorth TB programme.
The report demonstrated the value of involving private vets in the management of bovine TB to farmers, Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) and private vets themselves. I would like to thank all those who have given their time and effort in successfully supporting the initial phase of this important, distinctively Welsh, programme.
The report evaluated the experiences of farmers, private vets and Government vets involved in the pilot. It includes a large number of direct quotations from those involved.
The recommendations reflect the learning and experience of individuals involved in the programme that has emerged via feedback forms and less formal channels. As such they seem to be a sensible basis for any developing Cymorth TB strategy. They are clear that an enhanced understanding of risk associated with both biosecurity and trading policy, is important as is the need to develop our effective use of maps and shared information. The report also highlights the importance of the veterinary training around TB - the disease, the science and the management process. The recommendations made within the report will form a sound basis on which to develop an ongoing, sustainable programme, the practicalities of which are currently being discussed with key stakeholders particularly the Regional TB Eradication Boards.
My officials are also in discussions with possible internal and external delivery agents including Farm Communities Network (FCN) and the banks with a view to partnership working under the Cymorth TB banner. A range of options and next steps are currently being explored and will be presented to me for consideration.