Labour politician sorry for saying TB hit farms ought to discover different work

  • By David Deans
  • BBC Wales political reporter

A Labour politician has apologised for feedback the place she steered farmers hit with perpetual bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infections “discover one other enterprise”.

Joyce Watson’s remarks upset the NFU Cymru farming union which known as her remarks “stunning” and “insensitive”.

Within the Senedd Ms Watson, whose area is basically rural, mentioned she was sorry for any upset triggered.

“I used to be clumsy and didn’t specific myself terribly nicely,” she mentioned.

Plaid Cymru had known as for her to apologise final week, whereas the Welsh Conservatives mentioned she had proven a “full lack of empathy”.

Final week the Member of the Senedd (MS) for Mid and West Wales requested Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths if she “checked out any farms which have perpetual TB standing”.

She requested if she had “thought-about the query of whether or not these specific farms needs to be dairy farms in any respect”.

“As a result of if it’s the case that they’re in perpetual TB an infection standing, absolutely they should discover one other enterprise?” she added.

Joyce Watson

Picture supply, Senedd Cymru

Picture caption,

Joyce Watson was first elected to Cardiff Bay in 2007

On Tuesday, Ms Watson advised the Senedd: “On this case, I used to be clumsy and I did not specific myself terribly nicely. And I am sorry for any upset that was triggered.

“I ought to have been clearer that I used to be speaking about farms which have been constantly impacted by TB and the continued pressures of the present system.”

Ms Watson added: “In these circumstances I believe there needs to be a dialog about how that state of affairs may be resolved, or a minimum of improved, and diversification needs to be a part of that.”

Ms Griffiths, who was taking questions in her position as minister for presidency enterprise within the Senedd, mentioned: “I am certain your phrases shall be welcomed by the agricultural sector.”

Ms Watson’s area of Mid and West Wales covers a lot of rural Wales within the areas of Powys, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.


Earlier Welsh Conservative chief Andrew RT Davies mentioned Ms Watson’s feedback had been “undeserving of placing on the ground of the Senedd”.

In first minister’s query time, he mentioned that it was “unacceptable” to anticipate farms with perpetual TB to depart farming.

Labour’s First Minister Mark Drakeford advised the Senedd there was no authorities coverage requiring farms with perpetual TB to depart farming.

He was pressed by Mr Davies on whether or not Ms Watson ought to rethink the remarks. Mr Drakeford acknowledged the “emotional and psychological well being influence that farmers expertise”.

He mentioned the Welsh authorities had invested tens of millions in a “security internet” to help farmers, and added: “I’ve learn since that Joyce Watson has defined that had she had a chance to set out her views extra totally, it was by no means her intention to counsel that individuals could be pressured off the land.”


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