Welsh launch pilot badger cull

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones has announced that a limited badger cull will take place in West Wales as part of the Assembly’s TB Eradication Programme.

The approach is said to be based on evidence from a number of studies showing that culling badgers can reduce TB in cattle, claimed the Welsh Assembly Government, and that the Minister is satisfied that the approach is compatible with relevant environmental legislation.

Jones said: “Bovine TB is out of control and unsustainable and, last year, cost the taxpayer nearly £24m in compensating farmers. This is a dramatic rise since 2000 when the compensation bill was just over £1m.”

She added: “We know that cattle and badgers are the main sources of the disease and that, if we want to achieve our aim of eradicating bovine TB, we have to tackle the disease in both species.

“The approach we will be taking in the pilot area, carrying out a badger cull alongside strict cattle controls, has not been tried before in the UK. However, it is proving successful in countries like New Zealand, where wild possums and cattle are the main sources of infection.”

Five culls will take place over a limited period within the pilot area, which measures approximately 288km². and culling will be carried out alongside strict cattle control measures, the Assembly Government added.