Wildlife groups have slammed the decision to go ahead with a badger cull, rather than waiting for the development of a Bovine TB vaccine.

Alongside the idea of a cull, Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones had also considered a badger vaccination programme and combined badger test, vaccination or cull strategy.

However, an injectable vaccine for badgers is not expected to be available until May 2010.

An oral bait vaccine, which is the most effective way of vaccinating badgers on a large scale, will not be available until 2014.

The combined vaccine, test and cull option was ruled out as it had ‘significant potential’ to increase the number of TB cases in cattle.

Steve Clark, spokesman for Badger Trust Cymru, said: “This decision marks the start of a brutal pogrom against badgers.”