Pembrokeshire to play host to badger cull
1:06pm Monday 27th April 2009 in Pembrokeshire Farmer
Pembrokeshire has been chosen as the location of a pilot badger cull which will take place in an effort to eradicate Bovine TB in Wales.
A 77 square mile patch of north Pembrokeshire will be chosen as a pilot area where badgers will be trapped and killed as part of the Welsh Assembly’s £27million programme to eradicate the disease.
The cull, which is expected to last at least five years and cost about £4million, will take place alongside the raft of other eradication measures already in place.
Elin Jones said: “There is no point tackling one source of infection only to ignore another. This only allows the infection to return. I want to see a Welsh livestock and Welsh wildlife co-existing in a disease free environment.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies has welcomed the announcement.
He said: “I hope these plans will see the end of TB in my area. This disease has wreaked havoc in the countryside of Wales. North Pembrokeshire has been chosen because it is such a TB hotspot and I hope that this project will bring it under control for once and for all.”
Wales’ two farming unions have also welcomed the decision.
Farmers’ Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan said: “For more than a decade we have been killing more and more cattle and increasing the strict controls on cattle movements, while letting the problem in the badger population spiral out of control.”
Dai Davies, NFU Cymru president added: “What we want to see is a cattle and wildlife population free of this hideous disease which presently marches on wreaking havoc in Wales’ rural areas.
“We look to all those who are concerned and care for the countryside to work together to ensure that we deliver a strategy that returns us to a situation where healthy cattle live alongside a healthy wildlife population.”
However, the decision to go ahead with the cull has been slammed by wildlife groups.
Badger Trust Cymru spokesman Steve Clark said: “This decision marks the start of a brutal pogrom against badgers. Elin Jones caved in to bullying farming unions and vets.”
The Badger Trust is considering mounting a judicial review to stop the cull going ahead.
Welsh Assembly officials will now start work on further ecological reviews and an ecological impact assessment and assess local farms to choose the exact area to be included in the cull.
In 2008 more than 12,000 cattle were slaughtered in Wales because of Bovine TB — 52% more than in 2007 — with more than £23million expected to be paid out in compensation in 2008/09. Bovine TB is endemic in Pembrokeshire, with 68% of cattle killed last year coming from the former counties of Dyfed.