Badger Cull Programme Gets the Nod

UK - The Welsh governments plan to cull a large badger population in Wales in order to bring Bovine Tuberculosis under control has been welcomed across Great Britain by agricultural leaders in the industry.
calendar icon 10 April 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Many farmers seem to be showing support also, commending the decision so long as the plan is quickly initiated and they are properly compensated for any losses that they might incur.

The National Beef Association has said that they will work with the Welsh authorities to help construct the strong, and long lasting, partnership that will be necessary between cattle farmers, vets, and government if the daunting task of eradicating TB in Wales is to reach fulfilment.

“However, the Rural Affairs Department should understand that farmers, who have been under the TB controls for so long, and are desperate to take part in a well organised fight back, against the disease, will be disappointed if there are delays in establishing the intensive pilot action area,” warned NBA director, Kim Haywood.

“And if they later sense that extension of all parts of the comprehensive programme into other areas of Wales is being held up because of an over- lengthy review period, their enthusiasm for a partnership, which includes much heavier action against TB in cattle, will cool down too.”

The programme includes a one-off TB test of all cattle herds in Wales to establish the extent of the problem, faster removal of reactor cattle after a TB breakdown, a review of the TB compensation system, and an intensive targeted pilot cull of badgers in a TB hotspot area. Legislation will also be introduced to extend TB testing and other controls to camelids.

The National Farmers Deputy President Meurig Raymond also came out in support of the move. "The Welsh Assembly Government is to be congratulated on having the courage to tackle every aspect of the spread of bovine TB. This gives a clear signal to Defra as to the way forward for England and we would urge the closest possible co-operation between the veterinary authorities in England and Wales.

He went on to say that the NFU and other industry stakeholders in England had already presented a suggested mechanism for a managed badger cull in TB hotspot areas and urged this to be developed "alongside the Welsh pilot and implemented without delay in England."

Meanwhile, NFU Cymru also commended the plan, congratulating Minister for Rural Affairs, Elin Jones for "grasping the nettle and having the courage of its convictions in proposing to implement a cull of infected badgers in an intensive action pilot area to deal with Bovine Tuberculosis in the round."

Dai Davies, President NFU Cymru said, “We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the ever increasing raft of scientific evidence which points to both cattle and badgers being involved in the transmission of bTB. Despite the measures already taken and aimed at containing the disease in cattle there has been a 750% rise in the number of cattle slaughtered last year compared to a decade ago. It is evident that unless a holistic approach is taken to deal with the disease in both cattle and infected wildlife bTB will continue to wreak havoc in the countryside and its unremitting spread will continue.

The BadgerTust, however, have not responded so kindly to the decision.

- Read there side of the story by clicking here.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Bovine Tuberculosis by clicking here.

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