The Farmers Union of Wales has described the Welsh Assembly’s measures for combating bovine TB as cowardly.

Having already been criticised for not conducting badger culling trials, the Welsh Assembly has decided that it will not have a public consultation on the principle and method of a badger culling policy.

Instead TB testing of badgers found dead will be introduced, and badger populations will be surveyed and mapped.

Rural affairs minister Carwyn Jones said the move recognised a gap in our knowledge of the disease in badgers in Wales, which had been highlighted by the Wales TB Action Group.

But he emphasised that there were no immediate plans to start culling badgers.

This infuriated both Welsh farming unions, who claimed that the plan ignored the views of farming representatives on the group.

“I believe the assembly knows that TB infected badgers are the real problem, but simply does not have the guts to stand up to the animal rights lobby,” said Evan Thomas, a FUW action group representative.

He called on the Assembly to take decisive action against the badger as soon as supporting evidence is available.