Welsh farmers breathed a collective sigh of relief this week after the Welsh Assembly voted not to introduce the contentious 'tabular valuation' system into the Principality.
Cattle compulsorily purchased as bTb reactors in Wales will still be subject to a valuation procedure by a professional, independent valuer rather than an 'all size fits none' figure dreamed up by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The news was met with relief by the Cymru NFU president, Dai Davies who commented;
"Welsh farmers whose herds are hit with tuberculosis do not want 'compensation' - what they want is for the disease to be eradicated. Compensation should not an issue, and it would become unecessary if the fundemental issue of stopping the spread and eradicating the disease was addressed by government."
Mr. Davies continued: " Valuation tables are based on averages, and are not representative of the animal, as they over compensate poor quality stock, and under value good quality stock".
He added that he hoped the Welsh Assembly would "now put all its efforts into eradicating this business-crippling disease which continues to spiral out of control across Wales".
Other comments on the decision from politicians of various hues included:
Lib-Dem - "tackle the disease, rather than slash farmers' payments"
Plaid Cymru - "valuation 'tables' not only unfair to cattle owners and breeders, especially pedigree cattle breeders, but an inefficient use of taxpayer's money"
The same arguments were levelled at our Minister for Fisheries, Ben Bradshaw, the only member of Deathrow's team to survive the recent parliamentary cull. But he ignored them, and it is now a very strange phenomenon that a pedigree cow in Wales can be valued in £ thousands, but if she has contact with m.bovis in England she's 'worth' just over £900.
Tommorrow, May 31st. Wales' survey of road kill badgers comes to an abrupt - and some say premature - end.
Announced in December and beginning in January, the programme was expected to last a year. Road kill badgers reported to the department of agricluture were to be collected for post mortem, and the results correlated with areas and instances of cattle Tb. But after tomorrow, members of the public have been told "don't report any more thankyou, we have enough" .
These excercises usually involve a 'target' figure with funding to match it and the general concensus from industry commentators is, that the almost 500 badgers collected in just four months, is more an indication of a population explosion in the species than a funding famine.
All commentators expressed "surprise" that a survey which was supposed to last a year, has met its target body count in just four months. But they welcomed the news from the Welsh Assembly that the results of the survey would also be brought forward, and after postmortems are carried out, are due to be published on September 28th.