THE official procedure associated with every bovine TB herd breakdown in Wales could be simplified to ease the burden on farmers.

Wales’ chief veterinary officer, Dr Christianne Glossop, believes the process can be improved and has confirmed that it is being scrutinised with a view to implementing changes.

“There are endless bits of paper that are generated by every breakdown, such as movement licences, details of the next test and valuation visits, the list goes on. The process is a very important one, but we think it could probably be improved,” she said.

A TB advisory service is already in place, but Dr Glossop said the guidance given to farmers could extend beyond that.

“We will be taking this suggestion out to farming groups to listen to what they think,” she said.

The first year of the badger vaccination programme was completed in October following eight vaccination cycles.

Critics say the costs associated with the programme are too high.

The Welsh Government estimates that the cost of the five-year vaccination project will be approximately £5,760,000. The vaccine alone costs £15 per dose.

Dr Glossop is confident that a more sustainable delivery model can be developed from lessons learned during the first year.

“This is the biggest vaccination programme of badgers ever undertaken in a single year, so there is no precedent, but we have learned a great deal in the first year of vaccination,” said Dr Glossop.

“We have asked ourselves whether we can develop a better model and there are areas we can explore.”

An area that could be investigated is training farmers to deliver the vaccinations.

New figures reveal bovine TB shows no sign of abating in Wales. According to NFU Cymru, nearly 5,000 cattle were slaughtered in the first six months of this year.

More than 75,000 cattle were slaughtered in Wales from 2002 to 2011 – the equivalent of more than the total number of adult dairy cattle in Carmarthenshire, the home of the recent Welsh Dairy Show.