There has been renewed criticism of Wales’ badger vaccination policy as figures released today (30 January) reveal that it cost £662 to vaccinate each badger.

The Welsh government spent £943,000 on vaccinating 1,424 badgers in the North Pembrokeshire Intensive Action Area, but it is not certain what percentage of the region’s badger population this represents.

NFU Cymru’s deputy president, Stephen James, described the vaccination programme as “flawed”, insisting it was based on political expediency rather than scientific fact.

“Here we are with a policy that in our opinion was not supported by the evidence put forward within the scientific review commissioned by the Welsh government that is costing nearly £1m annually to deliver a vaccine costing £26,000,” he said.

“Many of the badgers vaccinated are already suffering disease so the vaccine will not be effective and these animals will continue to excrete infection into the countryside. This would almost be laughable if it wasn’t for the seriousness of the situation on farms in Wales as highlighted by the most recent bovine TB statistics.”

In the last decade more than 75,000 cattle have been slaughtered in Wales due to bovine TB. Latest figures show 1,741 holdings are under restriction – a rise of 558% since 1998.

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