Welsh Assembly announces badger cull

The Welsh Assembly will push ahead with its controversial badger cull plans as part of its efforts to eradicate bovine TB from Wales.

Welsh Minister for Rural Affairs Elin Jones laid the order to destroy badgers within a specified area before the National Assembly yesterday. It is expected to come into force on the 31 March 2011.

The ‘intensive action area’ (IAA) where badgers will be destroyed covers an area where bovine TB is endemic, including parts of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The latest move comes as part of the Welsh Assembly’s ongoing battle to reduce the risk of transmitting TB to cattle. Measures have already included  improved surveillance and cattle disease controls, rigid enforcement of TB policy with compulsory testing and the introduction of three regional TB Eradiccation Delivery boards to develop initiatives.

Welsh Minister for Rural Affairs Elin Jones said: “It is too early to say that these measures are the cause of the recent improvement in TB figures. We must continue to pursue a comprehensive approach towards the eradication of bovine TB from Wales.

“I believe that today’s announcement on the IAA and management of TB in non-bovines, together with the progress made over the last three years provides a solid foundation to achieve the long-term goal of Wales being free of bovine TB.”

She emphasised that badgers remained a protected species in Wales and that the Potection of Badgers Act 1992 remains in place.

Defra are expected to publish a comprehensive and balanced bovine TB eradication programme over the next few months. 

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