English politicians have been slammed for their cowardly approach to tackling bovine tuberculosis.

The stinging attack was launched by Farmers Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan who said he was concerned that England’s policy could affect Welsh farms close to the border.

Mr Vaughan told the union’s annual meeting at Aberystwyth that the stance of Welsh politicians was in stark contrast to the “cowardly approach” adopted in England.

“It is an approach based on cowering in the face of intimidation from animal rights extremists,” he said.

“MPs hid behind one ridiculously decisive statement published in the final report of the Independent Science Group on TB.

“That statement is an embarrassment to the scientific community, which has been contradicted by scientific evidence from Great Britain and around the globe,” said Mr Vaughan.

“For too many years politicians have buried uncomfortable truths about TB in wildlife, pandering to animal rights extremists who, through threats and misinformation, have managed to steer government policy away from what is in the best interests of human health and the taxpayer,” Mr Vaughan said.

On behalf of Welsh cross border farms and farmers throughout the UK, and on behalf of the future health of cattle and wildlife  DEFRA should do the honourable thing with regard to TB, rather than risk dragging the whole of the UK down, he said.