Wales supports badgers

Dai Davies, incoming president of NFU Cymru, has admitted that he felt shocked and humiliated when the latest Welsh bovine TB strategy was announced.

He told members attending the annual meeting of the union’s Montgomeryshire branch at Welshpool that he had been confident that Carwyn Jones, the Welsh Assembly rural affairs minister, would respond positively to intensive industry lobbying.

But the minister had bowed to pressure from pro-badger groups, so there would be no real action to tackle wildlife reservoirs of the disease.

Instead, 400 dead badgers would be tested.

“When I heard what was planned I felt like crawling under the table,” said Mr Davies.

“It is clear that the minister was not listening to the industry.

His actions will not be enough to bring this terrible disease under control.”

At the very least badger setts should be mapped so that infected animals could be linked to specific sites.

Mr Davies also warned food processors and retailers that the recent row over Russian gas supplies had shocked European governments so much that they were ready to pay real inducements to encourage bio-fuel production.

Freed from the straight jacket of coupled payments British farmers were ready to take up grants to switch production away from unprofitable enterprises.

They could turn their backs on food production unless they received clear market signals, and prices that allowed them to make reasonable profits, Mr Davies forecast.