A local Senedd member has come under fire for “deplorable” comments made about farms dealing with Bovine TB.

Mid & West Wales MS Joyce Watson has been lambasted for her comments in the Senedd where she said farms with “perpetual TB infection status” may need “to find another business”.

The comments were made after Minister Lesley Griffiths MS had been speaking about the Welsh Government’s Bovine TB eradication programme on the Senedd floor,. Ms Watson joined the discussion and said: “If we’re talking about a rethink, Minister, have you looked at any farms that have perpetual TB status, and have you considered the question of whether those particular farms should be dairy farms at all?

“Because if it is the case that they are in perpetual TB infection status, surely they need to find another business?”

Ms Griffiths did not respond to the question.


The comments have been met with disgust by farming groups and by other members of the Senedd. NFU Cymru said that the comment were “deplorable”.

In an open letter, NFU Cymru Bovine TB Focus Group chairman Roger Lewis said: “I am struggling to put into words my frustration that a Member of the Senedd elected to represent Mid & West Wales could make such deplorable comments, so lacking in empathy and respect for the farming families in your constituency going through the emotional hell of dealing with an outbreak of bovine TB on their farm.

“Your suggestion that these families, many of whom are suffering persistent bovine TB breakdowns despite adhering to strict veterinary and scientific advice, should just walk away and find another business is – frankly – shocking.”

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Montgomeryshire MS Russell George said: “calling for dairy farmers to ‘find another business’ if they’re under TB restrictions shows a complete lack of empathy for farming families suffering with the consequences of the Welsh Government's lack of progress on Bovine TB eradication.”

"For years farmers have followed the rules set by the Welsh Government on TB. So, the real question is why, after all these years, do we still have continuous Tb breakdowns in Welsh herds? It's because the Welsh Government fail to grab this situation by the scruff of the neck and do what is necessary to eradicate TB.”

Ms Watson has been approached for comment.