NFU Cymru may challenge badger vaccination plan

NFU Cymru is considering a challenge to the validity of the five-year badger vaccination programme, announced by the Welsh environment minister Alun Griffiths last week (see News 23 March).

The minister rejected plans for a badger cull in Wales and instead opted for the vaccination programme to control the disease.

The union said it was studying in detail the science review of the potential benefit of badger culling on controlling bovine tuberculosis alongside other evidence presented to the minister.

Stephen James, NFU Cymru’s deputy president, told Farmers Weekly: “We will be examining if there is any recourse to the decision that we believe has been made by a government that is allowing single issue groups to dictate its policy. We will leave no stone unturned with regards to this matter.”

The call came as livestock farmers in the vaccination area of North Pembrokeshire called for the Welsh Government to review additional cattle movement and testing controls imposed on them.

The farmers accepted additional TB controls on the understanding that measures would also be taken to deal with infection in wildlife.

Mr James said the expectation at that time was that a cull would take place, not the programme of vaccination announced last week.

“Cattle keepers had co-operated fully and worked with the Welsh Government on implementing a comprehensive package of measures,” Mr James said.

“These controls had added significant extra costs and resulted in consequential losses to these farmers.

“We have put it to the environment minister that farmers now expect a review of all the additional controls,” he said.

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