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Farmers angry over TB threaten to quit union

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 17, 2013


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SOME farmers are so angry at the handling of badgers and TB in cattle they are talking about leaving the NFU.

They include long standing and prominent figures within the union.

The disenchantment with the crisis over bovine TB comes after the introduction of new on-farm and cattle movement measures to try to control the disease.

The chairman of the North Devon branch of the NFU, David Verney, said a leading member, whom he wished not to name, had approached him saying that he was leaving.

"It was the fact the Government is putting new restrictions on us without doing anything to the wildlife," he said. "We've got members leaving because they don't think the union is doing enough."

When the new controls were announced last year the livestock advisor for the NFU, Peter Garbutt, said they would "simplify the complex patchwork of the parish system, keep our testing regime one step ahead of the disease and ensure that investigation of new TB breakdowns is risk based."

David Verney said that some farmers believe the crisis threatens the beef industry in Britain.

"They say the NFU shouldn't be accepting the restrictions, that we should be saying 'enough is enough' until we've got action on wildlife.

"These new rules will stop people trading cattle and if you do that the industry is stifled. I don't want to lose members who have the experience and can voice their opinions.

"If all our livestock chaps decide to do that then the battle is over because they won't be keeping any more cattle.

"It's pretty desperate, and it's so sad when so many well-bred cattle are being lost."

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  • AtrixMan  |  January 18 2013, 3:02PM

    The NFU have only got themselves to blame. They agreed to a wildlife control policy designed for the specific purpose of being able get something through the courts, rather than have any impact on the wildlife vector of TB. Then blindly agree to more cattle controls which will only add costs to the industry with no benefit whatsoever!

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  • bullocks400  |  January 17 2013, 7:04PM

    No real news here. Years of appeasement and 'negotiation' with interfering pressure groups has led to this soft union. If standing up for the benefit of our industry is considered militant, then so be it. Defra and Natural england seem not to care much about farming and every little 'whip top' appears to know how farmers should conduct their business. Time for farmers and their representative bodies to grow a pair and stand up.

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