A vaccination programme to protect badgers from bovine tuberculosis has begun in an area of south-west Wales.
Wales's environment minister, John Griffiths, confirmed that vaccinating started on Monday 11 June across a 288km² area of north Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.
The minister outlined the project back in March after ditching the previous administration's plan for a badger cull in the area.
Since then recruitment of vaccinators, training and trap-setting have been under way. So far, 275 badgers have been trapped and vaccinated.
Mr Griffiths told the Welsh Assembly: "Our, Strategic Framework for Bovine TB Eradication, acknowledges that we must deal with all sources of this debilitating disease, including wildlife.
"The vaccination programme is aimed at developing a degree of immunity to TB within the badger population. We believe that this will reduce the risk of transmission from badgers to cattle."
Mr Griffiths added: "We will be monitoring the results of vaccination, and of our whole eradication programme, to ensure we are making good progress towards our ultimate goal of a TB free Wales."
But NFU Cymru deputy president Stephen James said that badger vaccination alone would not solve the problem of TB.
"Vaccination is just one of the tools needed to tackle the disease but it won't cure badgers which are already infected. So in the trial area, which is heavily infected, it cannot possibly eradicate TB," Mr James said.
"The only way forward is to follow the scientific advice that recommended culling badgers within the north Pembrokeshire zone. The scientists then proposed that vaccination could be used to protect clean badger setts around the edge of the culling zone," said Mr James.
"We believe this approach would have achieved the goal of eradicating bovine TB in both cattle and badger populations in the long term," he added.
Watch the assembly government video on badger trapping and vaccination:
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