The Farmers’ Union of Wales will gather the views of its 12 county branches to develop a formal response to the Welsh Assembly Government’s (WAG) proposals to overhaul its bovine TB compensation scheme.
"Meanwhile, I would encourage all Welsh farmers to read WAG’s consultation paper and respond to it before the closing date of April 10," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.
A key aim of its £27m programme of bovine TB eradication is to amend the current system to "ensure a fair deal for herd owners and taxpayers by linking compensation arrangements with the encouragement of farmers to comply with best practice requirements".
Bovine TB in Wales has increased substantially in the current financial year and since last April over £17,734,564 compensation was paid in Wales, compared with £11,185,340 in the same period the previous year - an increase of 59 per cent.
WAG’s consultation paper considers the responsibilities of herd owners and the principles of compensation and, in particular, how these principles can encourage positive on-farm actions and help modify behaviour to prevent the reintroduction of the disease into herds in Wales.
Mr Vaughan said: "No-one would disagree that genuine irresponsible behaviour should be penalised but the approach must be proportional, particularly given past government failures to address the issue of bTB in wildlife which has created the massive problems we are now facing.
"It would be completely unacceptable for a farmer to be penalised if his animals are infected by wild animals over which farmers have no control whatsoever - especially given that it has effectively been illegal to control the disease in wildlife for decades."