Nearly a third of all the cattle slaughtered in Wales due to bovine TB in the last 12 months have come from Pembrokeshire.

And continued anger and frustration at the impact of bovine TB on the farming industry was a major talking point at the first day of Pembrokeshire County Show.

The most recent official government statistics, released last month, are extremely alarming, with 3,731 cattle slaughtered in the county in the 12 months up to the end of April 2019.

The figures also revealed that the number of new herd incidents in Wales had decreased by 7 per cent, and that there was a 1 per cent increase in the number of herds not officially TB-free at the end of the year to April 2019.

However, the figures also reveal a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in the total number of animals slaughtered in Wales due to bovine TB, and the situation in the high incidence area in west Wales, which includes all of Pembrokeshire and large parts of neighbouring counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire; show that there was a staggering 27 per cent increase year-on-year.

Speaking at the show, Pembrokeshire NFU Cymru county chair, Clare Morgan said: “This scale of loss is hugely damaging and totally unsustainable for the industry in Pembrokeshire, and comes at a time when farm incomes and cash flow in general are already under massive pressure.

“I’ve spoken to many farming families in this county who are struggling under the enormous emotional and financial strain caused by bovine TB.

"Cattle farmers here in Pembrokeshire, and in other parts of Wales, are adhering to additional cattle movement and testing controls, which came into force as part of the refreshed TB eradication programme that was introduced by the Welsh Government in October 2017.

"We are now nearly two years into the refreshed TB programme and these latest figures reveal a grim reality that the policies currently in place simply aren’t eradicating the disease in Wales.”

Mrs Morgan added: “There is a stark contrast when you compare what’s happening in the high risk areas in England where the disease is being addressed in both the cattle and wildlife populations, and where the most recent statistics show that the vast majority of these counties have seen falling numbers of cattle slaughtered and fewer herds under restriction.

"This shows the benefits of a TB eradication strategy where government and farmers are working in genuine partnership to tackle this horrendous disease, and where there’s a wildlife policy delivered by farmers, but supported and designed in partnership with government."

She also pointed out that just one in three confirmed TB breakdowns in high TB areas is primarily attributable to cattle movements.

"This makes me, and many other farmers in the high risk area, question what is actually being done about the causes of the other two-thirds of confirmed breakdowns in the high risk areas?" she said.

Mrs Morgan concluded: “The recently published report by APHA on the delivery of badger trap and test operations on chronic TB breakdown farms in Wales in 2018 revealed that only six farms were selected by Welsh Government to participate in this project, and at that rate the goal of total eradication of bovine TB in Wales, that both government and industry aspire to achieve, will fail.”