Assembly Members have voted overwhelmingly not to stop a controversial badger cull in Pembrokeshire.

A move to annul the order granting powers for the cull was defeated by 43 votes to nine and was welcomed by the FUW as “a victory for common sense and democracy.”

The union’s TB spokesman Brian Walters, added: “AMs have already supported the principle of badger culling more than once, and this vote ratifies the cross-party support for that policy.”

Action group Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (PAC), said the Assembly had “bowed to pressure from cull-obsessed farmers and vets”.

The final decision on any cull will be made by rural affairs minister Elin Jones.

A cull would not take place before the end of the closed season, which runs between winter and spring, and would take the form of trapping and shooting in an area around north Pembrokeshire, to be known as the Intensive Action Pilot Area.

It is understood a tender for the traps has already been prepared, with at least 3,000 traps needed. This could rise to 6,000.

During the Assembly debate, the minister said 12,000 cows were slaughtered due to bovine TB last year, with a further 8,000 slaughtered in 2009.

The cost to the taxpayer in compensation had reached £24m in the last financial year.

Lib Dem AM Lorraine Barrett, one of the two members who brought the vote said: “Pembrokeshire will be known as the killing fields ... it’s not a cull, it’s a slaughter.”

But Alun Davies, chairman of the rural affairs sub-committee, hit back: “If you think that you can eradicate this disease in a painless way, you are, frankly, living in cloud-cuckoo-land. That is not how you do it.

“Of course it is a difficult issue, but we are elected to take difficult decisions.”

Dr Adrian Stallwood, spokesman for PAC, said 90% of Pembrokeshire respondents to their survey opposed the slaughter.

“They also know that despite the scaremongering from the likes of the NFU, badgers are not a health risk,” he said.

Meanwhile, moves for a judicial review of the potential cull are continuing. The Badger Trust has sent a further “letter before action” asking for a response from the Assembly by November 19th.