‘Welsh farmers paying price of TB delays’

Farmers are paying the price of bovine TB as months pass without a decision on a possible cull of badgers in Wales, according to a Welsh assembly member.

Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Antoinette Sandbach AM, said environment minister, John Griffiths, had given an assurance he would “announce the way forward (on TB eradication) in early 2012” after he received an advisory report from Wales’ scientific review committee last November.

“We’re now well into February and the term ‘early in the new year’ will soon no longer apply,” said Ms Sandbach.

“The minister has had this report for well over two months and it’s about time farmers were paid the respect of a decision on direction.

“It’s eight long months since this issue was conveniently kicked into the long grass. During that time frustrations in rural communities have been growing and tensions rising.”

The AM insisted that while the minister “buys time”, farmers pay the price.

“Tough but necessary action is required on TB and more delays are not just unwelcome, they’re completely unwarranted,” she said.

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