Ross-on-Wye farming family devastated by bTB outbreak

By Catherine Barkley in Farming

Robert Davies, of Hopes Ash Farm, in Hope Mansell, near Ross-on-Wye, has told the Gazette that the farm is in the grip of a devastating bovine tuberculosis (bTB) outbreak, but he feels it is important to share his experience with the local community.

Mr Davies told the Ross Gazette that he had kept a diary where he outlined what was happening at the farm and how the loss of the cattle, which had been part of their herd for many years, affected the family, emotionally and financially.

So far, 27 in-calf heifers have been destroyed, 22 tested positive for bTB in an initial test, and five others have since tested positive. Although there is compensation available, Mr Davies said this is not enough to replace these high-quality home-bred cows, and their unborn calves.

Mr Davies wants to raise awareness, to those without experience of farming, of how overwhelming the battle against bTB is. He has met with DEFRA and bTB advisors and hopes that he has done as much as he can to highlight the situation.

He commented: “The futile battle faced by farmers every day is largely unreported and one which I believe the general public should be made more aware of.”

Oliver Cartwright, NFU spokesman, has told the Ross Gazette that Bovine TB remains a huge threat to Herefordshire’s beef and dairy industry.

He commented: “It has been proven without doubt that badgers are a reservoir of bTB and that the disease transmits between badgers and cattle.”

“Controlling the disease in wildlife, therefore, in areas where it is rife, is an absolutely vital part of any package of measures if we are to successfully get on top of it and stop reinfection occurring.”

Mr Cartwright continued: “The NFU will continue to make the case to the next Government on this issue which is having such a devastating impact in the county.”

In the Spring, as the bTB outbreak was detected, Mr Davies kept a diary, where he outlined what was happening at the farm, and the repercussions it had. Please see this week’s edition of the Ross Gazette to see Mr Davies’ unedited account.

Related Articles

Add Comment

Add Your Comment

You don't need an account to leave a comment

By posting your comment you agree to our T & C