Landowners in a Welsh bovine tuberculosis hotspot are allowing a badger vaccination programme to go ahead on their farms for a second year.

The second wave of the Welsh government’s five-year vaccination project is already under way in the Intensive Action Area (IAA), which covers Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

More than 1,400 badgers were vaccinated in the first phase of the trials which ended last November.

The vaccination work is being carried out in three-week cycles in up to 12 locations throughout the IAA and is expected to continue until the end of October.

Wales’ farming minister, Alun Davies, said the project was aimed at developing a “degree of immunity” to TB within the badger population.

“Participation in the project is voluntary and I am very grateful for the ongoing co-operation and assistance that has been shown by farmers and landowners in the area,” he said.

“We are continuing to monitor the results of vaccination, and of our whole eradication programme, carefully to ensure we are making good progress towards our ultimate goal of a TB-free Wales.”

The IAA has one of the highest incidence of bovine TB in Europe but the Labour-led Welsh government scrapped a badger cull that was due to go ahead weeks after the new administration came to power.

The IAA covers 288sq km and it is thought to be the first time a project to cage and vaccinate badgers has been carried out on this scale.

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