The Welsh Government's decision to delay the cull of badgers in Wales has been welcomed by animal campaigners, while farmers and landowners have reacting angrily to the news.

Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths announced yesterday (Tuesday) that a review of the evidence base on eradicating Bovine TB in Wales would be carried out by an independent panel of experts, overseen by Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor John Harries.

Mr Griffiths said: "Bovine TB is the subject of considerable debate. This is also true of the huge body of scientific research related to the disease.

  "The eradication of bovine TB in Wales is a long term Welsh Government commitment. It will require the application of new technologies and scientific developments as they become available. The Welsh Government will continue to monitor these new technologies and the continued evolution of the policy."

Mr Griffiths also confirmed there would be no culling of badgers whilst the review is being carried out in the North Pembrokeshire Intensive Action Area, the review expected to be delivered in the autumn.

Chair of Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (PAC), Celia Thomas said: "We are optimistic that a scientific review will favour a long term solution that reduces bovine TB in both cattle and badgers, a solution that culling cannot offer."

Both the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) criticised the decision, saying that sufficient scientific research had already been carried out.

FUW TB spokesman and Vice President Brian Walters said: "Cattle farmers are being crippled by this disease, are incurring massive extra costs and are seeing their businesses locked down, particularly in north Pembrokeshire where harsh restrictions have been in place for well over a year." 

Stephen James, NFU Cymru's Deputy President said: "Time is of the essence, we've already waited too long. It is crucial that the peer review group is set up swiftly, that the terms of reference are agreed without delay and that the group reports to the Minister by the autumn at the latest. Unless a rigorous timetable is adhered to farmers will be convinced that this exercise is no more than a sham."

The Badger Trust welcomed the news, saying that it remained "determined to take whatever legal steps are required to safeguard this protected species against unjustified slaughter," although it hoped its proposed judicial review challenge could be avoided.