FOR many years my family and I have enjoyed holidays in Pembrokeshire. From the lovely rugged coast in the north at Strumble Head to the tranquility of the south coast; Barafundle Bay and the spectacular lily ponds being among our favourites.

Sadly, because the Welsh Government is now contemplating a targeted badger cull in this beautiful area, we will not be returning there in September this year for our holiday as planned.

Many people will be aware of the unscientific, inhumane and ineffective badger cull that has been taking place in the south west of England for the past four years, a cull which has done little to address the problem of bTB in cattle. Fifteen thousand badgers have been slaughtered at a cost of £40million of taxpayers’ money, and many of those will have died a slow, painful death.

This policy, under the Tory government in England, has been politically driven, aimed at appeasing the NFU and the the Countryside Alliance, the hunting and shooting organisation who, in many people’s opinion, want badgers off their land for reasons other than the welfare of cattle.

The Welsh Government’s plan for a targeted badger cull in Pembrokeshire saddens me deeply. So now we will not be supporting the Welsh tourist board and will not be holidaying in this lovely part of the country.

I understand the frustration felt by farmers, particularly those who experience a chronic problem on their farms. However, with improvements in bio security, tighter movement controls and badger vaccination, Wales has achieved far more than the West Country. New herd incidents have fallen by 40 per cent since 2009, and 95 per cent of farms are bTB free, all without culling.

Surely, with a failure rate of around 20 per cent in the current skin testing for bTB, what is definitely needed now is improved cattle testing, not slaughtering more of our wildlife!

I urge the Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, to look at the new, more effective blood test for the detection of bTB in cattle which has been undertaken at the University of Nottingham by Dr Cath Rees.

We also know that the suggestion that close contact between cattle and badgers is responsible has now been dismissed. A recent study in Cornwall by professor Rosie Woodroffe showed that badgers avoid cattle and prefer to be at least 50m away. In only one of 65,000 observations did a badger get within 10m of a cow.

I can only hope that the Welsh Government reconsider their plans. I think this will most certainly affect the Welsh tourist industry, there are many people like myself who support farmers, but not the persecution of wildlife.



FOR many years now I have been visiting Wales most summers to stay with a friend or aunt.

I love watching the wildlife and was delighted to learn that the country was embarking on a programme of vaccinating its badgers and not going down the road of the cruel, inhumane cull that has been going on here in the West Country. There is no real scientific evidence to prove that culling badgers will in any way help to eradicate bTB in cattle.

I believe that tighter bio security, tighter cattle movement and badger vaccination have led Wales to having the lowest levels of bTB in cattle for ten years which is a huge achievement.

I had hoped that England would learn from Wales and follow its example.

I am now heart broken to learn that Wales will start culling badgers this year. I am very sorry but don’t feel I can visit again while this is the policy.