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Bovine TB experts brief Welsh Government Ministers at Royal Welsh

Professor Neil Glasser, Professor Elizabeth Treasure Vice Chancellor, First Minister Mark Drakeford, Professor Glyn Hewinson, Professor Darrell Abernethy, Amanda Jones.

Bovine Tuberculosis experts have briefed Welsh Government Ministers at the Royal Welsh Show about the next steps in efforts to control the infection in cattle (Monday 18 July).

Aberystwyth University academics met the First Minister, the Minister for Rural Affairs and the Education Minister in Llanelwedd to discuss the latest position with the disease.

The discussions follow the Welsh Government’s update on the bovine TB eradication programme. As part of the update, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths MS announced the appointment of Professor Glyn Hewinson from Aberystwyth University as Chair of the new Technical Advisory Group on bovine TB.

Established in 2018, the Sêr Cymru Centre of Excellence for Bovine Tuberculosis at Aberystwyth University is a hub for national and international research into bovine TB. Its aim is to provide a strong scientific evidence base to support the eradication of the disease and to grow and develop academic research expertise in Wales.

Professor Glyn Hewinson of Aberystwyth University said:

“It was very helpful to have the opportunity to discuss the latest situation with the First Minister and his Ministerial colleagues and it is an honour to have been appointed Chair of the Technical Advisory Group.

“In disease control, one needs to deploy the right tools at the right place at the right time, and understanding local epidemiology is key. Successful eradication of bovine TB also requires all stakeholders to work together in effective partnership, and that is one of the key roles we can play as a Centre of Excellence.

“The Centre here at Aberystwyth University will continue to provide a strong scientific base for Wales and engage with all stakeholders as we all strive to find new and better ways of combatting this devastating disease.”

Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths said: “I thank Aberystwyth University for holding this briefing session at the Royal Welsh Show.

“TB in cattle is a huge challenge, and very distressing for farmers who must deal with it in their herds.

“Since we established our TB eradication programme we have seen long-term decreases in incidence and prevalence.

“We have been quite clear we can’t tackle this disease alone and we all have an important role to play.”

Later in the Show week, farmers, vets and University scientists will meet to discuss the establishment of the Technical Advisory Group under the chairmanship of Professor Hewinson.

Aberystwyth University will also hold an event to discuss the role of vets in efforts to tackle TB, following recommendations of the Government’s Task and Finish Group.

Professor Darrell Abernethy, Head of Aberystwyth’s School of Veterinary Science, added:

“The aim of the new School of Veterinary Science at Aberystwyth is to serve and respond to Wales’ needs. It’s at the heart of everything we do. As part of that civic mission, as a School we have a responsibility to provide the people and skills that will contribute to the efforts to tackle the significant challenges of Bovine TB nationally. We are pleased that the University is leading the way in this area for the benefit of the agricultural and animal health sector.”

Aberystwyth is the first and only university in Wales to open a School of Veterinary Science which was established in September 2021.