The badger cull in Wales will be delayed until a fresh legal challenge has been heard by the court of appeal.
Rural affairs minister Elin Jones said that its initial decision to go ahead had been made because the appeal was not listed for hearing until between November 2010 and February 2011.
“But it has emerged that the Court of Appeal has agreed to an expedited hearing on 30 June,” said Miss Jones.
“In light of the fact that the hearing will now be held very quickly, I can commit to a delay in removing badgers until the judgement is delivered.
“I do so in anticipation of an early and positive judgement for the Welsh Assembly Government,” said Miss Jones.
“I am very grateful to the Court and for recognising the seriousness of the bovine TB problem in Wales.
“We will proceed with the preparatory work under the legal powers available to the assembly government. In addition, farmers in the area are already subject to additional and strict cattle control measures, and we do not intend to suspend those controls,” she said.
“Bovine TB must be eradicated. It’s blighted our cattle industry for far too long. Our comprehensive approach is based on the scientific evidence which shows that implementing strict cattle controls and culling badgers where necessary will substantially reduce TB in cattle,” she added.