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FUW hosts farm visits for Chinese vets




FUW Chinese visit


Farmers’ Union of Wales support for Welsh Government efforts to secure Welsh Lamb exports to China received a boost when its Glamorgan county branch members hosted a farm visit for 12 vets from Sichuan – the most populated province of China.

The vets from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Chengdu – the capital of Sichuan province and home to more than 10 million people – were on a study tour to learn from UK agencies and farming unions about animal disease control and prevention and general animal welfare on farms.

They visited the farm of FUW members Charles and Gill Morgan, Gellifeddgar, Blackmill, who run it in partnership with their son Richard.

The event follows the FUW’s annual House of Lords Farmhouse Breakfast Week function in January 2010 when Zhou Xiaoming, Minister Counsellor at the UK’s Chinese Embassy in charge of trade and investment issues between China and the UK including agriculture, was a top-table guest.

Welsh red meat agency Hybu Cig Cymru was also represented at the Lords function and since then it has been part of Welsh Government-led efforts to make Welsh Lamb available in China.

A typical Welsh family hill farm, Gellifeddgar lies between 350 and 950 feet above sea level and extends to some 360 acres with a further 50 acres rented, together with grazing rights on the adjoining common land.

Stocking on the farm comprises a flock of 700 ewes and 140 ewe lambs, mainly Welsh Mules – South Wales Mountain ewes crossed with a Blue Faced Leicester ram. A Texel ram is used on the majority of the flock with a Charolais utilised with the ewe lambs for easier lambing.

The farm also carries a herd of 30 suckler cows, mainly Limousin cross with some Belgian Blue crosses. Around 10 cattle a year are sold directly through farmers markets and the remainder sold as stores at 10-12 months old.

FUW county executive officer Glyn Davies said: “The main thrust of the visit was to explain how animal welfare is managed on an individual basis on the farm and how the local authority and veterinary surgeons, together with the Welsh Government’s animal welfare division, are involved in managing disease control.

“It was a very successful event with the Chinese delegation being extremely interested in the practical side of the animal recording and asking some pertinent questions about the control measures and testing regime in respect of bovine TB.”

FUW Glamorgan county chairman Glyn Jones introduced the delegation to the union’s senior policy officer Hazel Wright, the farm’s vet Mike King of Maes Glas Veterinary Group, and Bridgend County Borough Council trading standards officers Jane Jones and Helen Gome.

Miss Wright, explaining the role of the union in implementing disease control strategy, said delegates attended various stakeholders’ meetings of the Welsh Government and responded to numerous consultation documents affecting animal health.

Mr King outlined the role and working relationship between the farmer and his veterinary surgery practice and highlighted the main concerns of the industry at the moment, particularly bovine TB.

FUW vice president Brian Walters told the delegation of particular problems he had encountered on his farm and how the eradication of TB had become a very important issue on the farming agenda.

Mr Davies gave a brief demonstration of how sheep were identified and showed the delegation the working of electronic tags and the recording requirements.

This was further supplemented by the trading standards officers explaining the reporting procedures for animal movements and their extended role in maintaining good animal welfare on the farms.

Also present at the event was Welsh Government liaison officer Fuling Li and FUW Glamorgan member John Griffiths.

Refreshments were kindly provided by Mrs Morgan and the delegation were enthusiastic in their gratitude to Charles and Gill Morgan for hosting the event.


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