Farm leaders demand badger cull in Wales

Farm leaders in Wales have made an impassioned plea to the Welsh Assembly Government to reinstate plans for a badger cull in the North Pembrokeshire Intensive Action Area.

The CLA Wales, NFU Cymru and Farmers Union of Wales have written a joint letter to environment minister John Griffiths calling for action to tackle the problem of bovine TB in wildlife.

It warns that failure to implement a policy that has already been shown to be effective in the field – like a badger cull – will mark a betrayal of farmers’ trust in the Welsh Assembly.

The letter comes after the minister told the National Assembly that a decision on the way forward is imminent.

The letter says successive proactive badger culling trials in the UK and Ireland have significantly reduced TB in cattle herds.

It also points out that for the past three years farmers in the Intensive Action Area have undertaken a range of additional and costly measures to reduce cattle-to-cattle and badger-to-cattle transmission.

“It is clear from the number of cattle herds that remain under restrictions that these measures alone will not get on top of and ultimately eradicate bovine TB from an area of Wales where we know both badgers and cattle are suffering from this debilitating disease,” says the letter.

“Decisive action must be taken to tackle the wildlife reservoir which has been shown to exist in the area.”

The letter stresses the three groups’ support for the development of vaccines but points out that this is a longer term solution.

“Farmers have co-operated fully with the Welsh government and undertaken actions upon the understanding that a science-led badger cull would take place in the area.

“Any decision to implement a policy which has not been shown in the field to reduce bovine TB incidences in cattle herds, rather than a policy which has been shown to be successful, would mark a complete betrayal of the trust placed by farmers in the Welsh government.”

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