Swansea City FC agrees to help tackle bovine TB

Swansea City Football Club is helping to fund a badger vaccination programme in a part of south-west Wales where bovine TB is rife.

The championship club’s Fairwood training ground is in an area known as the Gower peninsula, while the city itself sits to the east.

See also: Badger cull extended to 11 new areas, but not Derbyshire

Farms in the area have battled against TB since 1994 and infection rates are twice the national average.

Now the Gower Badger Vaccination Group, or Cefn Gwlad, aims to eradicate the disease from the peninsula.

Over the next four years, the project will attempt to vaccinate up to 70% of the 1,200 badgers estimated to inhabit the peninsula.


One-third of the funding needed came from the Welsh government, which provides grants to back privately funded vaccination projects.

To qualify, the rest of the backing must come from other local businesses and community members, which is why Swansea City FC was approached. 

Club officials agreed to help because they said they had seen the effect of the disease on farmers and local businesses.

Chairman of the South East Wales TB Eradication board, Dafydd Saunders Jones, said the project was the only one he knew of which involved all members of the community.

“Bovine TB has many impacts – on tourism, farmers’ mental health and the environment around us – people understand that and that’s why they’re keen to work with us,” he said.


One of the project leaders, local vet Ifan Lloyd, said the Gower peninsula had the ideal geography to carry out vaccination.

“It is surrounded by sea and then has the city of Swansea blocking the eastern side – it’s effectively an island,” he told the BBC.

That means the badger population is less likely to be able to escape vaccination teams and spread the disease outwards as they move.

The badger vaccinations form the initial phase of the project, which also includes enhanced cattle surveillance, tighter biosecurity and on-farm risk management measures.