RW 2010: Badger survey work may need repeating

Months of badger sett survey work in Wales’ proposed cull zone will have to be repeated if the Welsh Assembly Government presses ahead with plans for a fresh TB eradication order.

Speaking at the Royal Welsh Show, Wales’ chief vet, Christianne Glossop, admitted that the time spent preparing for the cull could have been in vain.

“Badger populations don’t remain static so if we can move ahead with this, new badger setts will have been created,” said Dr Glossop.

Also speaking at the show, Wales’ rural affairs minister, Elin Jones, urged farmers not to be disheartened after the appeal court halted the planned cull of around 2000 badgers in the Intensive Action Pilot Area.

“My message to myself and to farmers is not be a disheartened and not to give up,” she said. “I am certainly not giving up as a minister in my mission to eradicate TB.”

An announcement could be made as early as next week on the assembly government’s next move.

The minister said she was continuing to study the content of the High Court judgment before making a statement on her next step.

“I don’t want to be accused of a knee-jerk reaction to that judgment. The timing is not great, I would have loved to have come to the Royal Welsh Show and announced our next steps on TB eradication,” she said.

Ms Jones said she remained determined to eradicate TB in Wales but admitted that it would not happen in the short term. “I have always known that there would be hurdles along the way and we hit a pretty big one last week,” she said.

For the first time, all cattle being exhibited at the Royal Welsh Show had to be tested for TB before they could enter the showground.

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