A HCC campaign to widen awareness among Welsh farmers of resistance to worm drenches will be “strongly stepped up” by forging dynamic strategic communications links with other key industry organisations in the new year and early spring.
The move follows first stage campaign successes in attracting farmers to listen to the critical message on parasitic diseases at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) supported meetings across Wales in the autumn.
“The unavoidable truth is that the industry has got to get the crucial message across that Welsh farmers need to take immediate measures to rectify existing practices or the industry faces serious consequences in the future,” said Dr. Julie Finch, HCC’s Corporate Strategy and Policy Manager.
Anthelmintic resistance means that a wormer loses effectiveness because a proportion of the worms survive treatment. If farmers use ineffective treatments, the overall health status of their flock will deteriorate and a huge amount of time, effort and money will be wasted.
“We’ve been on the road in recent weeks to spread the word and to date we’re really pleased with supportive farmer turnouts at key partner meetings that have taken place in different parts of Wales - but there is a lot more that needs to be done,” said Dr. Finch.
She cited headline events that included the HCC backed Moredun Animal Health north and south Wales roadshows at Royal Oak Hotel, Betws y Coed and Bishops Meadow restaurant, Brecon, during November 2015.
“We had more than a hundred farmers at the north Wales event and 75 at the south Wales session and the success of these two events, in particular, has led us to seek further partner events and locations that could be just as effective,” said Dr. Finch.
“We’re seeking compatible partner hosts, such as farming union meetings, academic meetings, market day events, NSA events and other opportunities - wherever the organised industry gathers.
“We simply have to bang the drum loudly after a HCC research project (see Note to Editors below) looking into resistance to wormers showed that changes have to be made if flock health is not to seriously suffer in the not-too-distant future,” said Dr. Finch.
“The research results show a significant rise in resistance levels compared to the previous study undertaken in 2006, when 78% were resistant to Benzimidazole, 34% were resistant to Levamisole and resistance to the other two wormers was considered to be low,” said Dr. Finch.