Welsh assembly members have voted in favour of plans for a badger cull to control bovine tuberculosis in Wales.
The assembly voted on a motion to have the proposed legislation thrown out. But the motion was defeated by 42 votes to eight.
Rural affairs minister Elin Jones welcomed the result, which will allow the assembly government to proceed with the implementation of the Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2011.
The order authorises the destruction of badgers in a specific area of west Wales known as the Intensive Action Area.
“I am satisfied that TB exists in badgers in the IAA and that it is being transmitted from badgers to cattle in the area,” Ms Jones said.
“It is, therefore, necessary to destroy badgers in order to substantially reduce bovine TB in cattle and therefore it was appropriate for me to make the order.”
She rejected claims that the cull was unnecessary, despite the latest DEFRA figures showing there was a decline in TB across Wales as a whole.
“While the number of TB breakdowns in Dyfed in 2010 was 456 compared with 565 for the same period in 2009 (19% decrease), the situation within the cull area was 79 TB breakdowns compared with 55 in 2009 – a 44% increase.
“It is important to remember that the culling of badgers will not be carried out in isolation but alongside the continued additional cattle controls and improved biosecurity measures that have been in place within the IAA since May 2010.
“This is only one part of a larger programme to pursue the eradication of bovine TB in Wales by dealing effectively with all main sources of infection,” she said.