A Powys Senedd representative who has drawn the wrath of the local farming community has said she is aware of the “huge stress” bovine TB can cause.

Joyce Watson MS came under fire after making comments in the Senedd that farms with “perpetual TB infection status” may need “to find another business”.

Ms Watson however has since said: “Had I had longer to speak I would have explained that I was talking about several farms which have been continuously impacted by TB, and the ongoing pressures of the current systems. 

“I know that the cycle of having to test, to cull, then to start all over again causes a huge stress to dairy farmers.

READ MORE: Mid Wales Senedd member blasted for 'shocking' bovine TB comments

“In those cases, I think there should be a conversation about how that situation can be resolved, or at least improved.

“Wales has had a TB Eradication Programme in place since 2008 and, recognising the stress and anguish TB can have on farming families, the Welsh Labour Government continues to offer support initiatives.”


The comments made by Ms Watson have been met with anger in local farming communities and among local representatives.

MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, Fay Jones said: “My farmers are raging about this. Telling farmers, who desperately fight to protect their cattle and the livelihoods from Bovine TB, to ‘just find another business’ is morally bankrupt.

“She should apologise immediately.”

Montgomeryshire MS, Russell George added: “A Labour backbencher, representing the mid and west Wales region, 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.

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NFU Cymru have voiced their outrage at the comments, with Deputy President NFU Cymru Abi Reader saying in a social media post that Ms Watson showed “a total lack of empathy and respect for those vulnerable farmers struggling to live with bTB".

"I couldn’t be more disappointed in this statement from a member of our Senedd," she said.

In an open letter to Ms Watson NFU Cymru Bovine TB Focus Group Chairman Roger Lewis said: “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.”