Badger cull announced

Posted on the 25th January 2010

Welsh Assembly Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones has today (25th March) announced a cull of badgers in West Wales. She said that there will be an ‘intensive action area’ covering 200 square kilometres in Pembrokeshire, and the cull would later be extended across Wales.

Farmers have long blamed badgers for spreading bovine tuberculosis (bTB) to cattle and resisted the idea that its own intensive rearing, breeding and transport practices are at the heart of the bovine TB problem. In fact, exhaustive research demonstrates that cattle movements ‘substantially and consistently outweigh’ all other factors in spreading bovine TB. Says Martin Hancox, zoologist and former member of the Badgers and Bovine TB Panel: ‘TB is appearing in areas that have been TB-free for ten years, sometimes longer. The badgers were there all the time: are they supposed to have sat around for a decade and then one day decided to infect cows?’ The critical new factor was that infected cows were moved to ‘clean areas’ without prior checks to find out whether they carried the disease.

The government ruled out a badger cull in England last year when research showed it would not work and the weight of public opinion was firmly opposed. As part of the TB eradication scheme in England, badgers will instead be vaccinated against the disease in a pilot study.

The Pembrokeshire cull is due to begin next month.

Contact the Welsh Assembly to urge Elin Jones to change her mind

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