Welsh opt for vaccination of badgers

THERE will not be a badger cull in Wales as part of the Welsh Government’s bovine TB eradication programme. Instead the focus will be on the vaccination of badgers.

Environment Minister, John Griffiths, told a Plenary meeting of AMs today (Tuesday, March 2)) that the way forward will be based on the findings of the independently scientific review it commissioned last year.

Setting out what he described as the Government’s “challenging and progressive” plans for dealing with bovine TB over the next four years, he said:

“Bovine TB has a significant financial and social impact on farmers and the wider community in Wales. I have visited and spoken to a number of cattle farming families across Wales. I know from listening just how difficult it is and how the consequences of TB can be devastating.

“We have a Government commitment to take a science led approach to tackling this serious disease and I am personally committed to the eradication of bovine TB in Wales.

“The Strategic Framework for Bovine TB Eradication that I am launching today acknowledges that we must deal with all sources of bovine TB, including wildlife, if we are going to achieve our goal of eradicating this debilitating disease.

“I have considered a number of options including whether culling or vaccination of badgers are appropriate.

“After careful consideration I have decided to pursue a badger vaccination project within the North Pembrokeshire Intensive Action Area.”

The Minister explained that he had asked his Chief Veterinary Officer to design a five year vaccination programme which would begin in the Intensive Action Area.

He had also asked for other areas where vaccination could be expected to contribute to TB eradication to be considered.

Speaking about his decision not to cull badgers in the Intensive Action Area, the Minister said:

“This has been a difficult decision to take. In making it, I have considered the likely benefits that vaccination or culling could have.

“Any decision to cull would need to be justified on the basis that it would be necessary to eliminate or substantially reduce the incidence of bovine TB in cattle.

“I have considered the evidence provided to me, including scientific and legal advice and have noted the advice on potential benefit that might be obtained by vaccination or culling.

“At present I am not satisfied that a cull of badgers would be necessary to bring about a substantial reduction in cases of TB in cattle.”

The Minister confirmed that the new strategic framework took a comprehensive approach, with proposed policy changes including improved management of long running and persistent TB herd breakdowns, the pilot of an audit of TB testing, a voluntary scheme to share bovine TB breakdown data between neighbouring farms and an advisory service for farmers affected by the disease.

He also emphasised that TB eradication was a long term commitment that would require the application of new technologies and scientific developments as they became available.

He had also asked the Chief Vet to convene a working group of experts to develop a cattle vaccinations strategy so that best use could be made of such a vaccination once it became available.

Readers' comments (38)

  • Bloody stupid,theres not a working vaccine available yet. A vet wrote to FG & explained how at £17 a go it did not cure or prevent the disease. What dont you understand about that..DEFRA said a vaccine was years down the line. So at best this is a waste of tax payers money & a sop to the bunny huggers

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  • Told you so! No government has the courage to do it. The previous regime gave the go ahead to a cull, safe in the knowledge that it would never happen as they would be out of power before all the legal stuff had finished. Trust me, the same thing will happen in England.

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  • Who wants to stick a needle in a bloody badger ??? Not me !!!! Hope you can find enough kame kaze vets to take that job on ! Obviously thought up by someone who thinks they are cuddly and not the biggest member of the weasel family ! Hope they have done a risk assessment for vet welfare !

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  • Presumably the Badgers will all form a Que for there annual jab of a vaccine rated as being 15-60% affective .So simple why has this not been done before .

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  • Here we go again. Have we no polititions with the balls to tacle this problem? Get your kid gloves off and sort the badgers out before it gets completely out hand. It will be just the same in England. Bloody stupid lot!!

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  • How many cats, dogs and humans have to contract bovine TB before our governments finally sort out this problem. They're just a bunch of cowards.

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  • Just pussy-footing around - again. Instead of showing pics of "cuddly" badgers, why not a few full page tabloid ads showing piles of dead cattle, killed needlessly & paid for by the tax payer, if they thought they could get a few more nurses/schools instead of all this wasted money we might get somewhere. Who in heavens name is going to try to vaccinate them. Government are as mad as a box of frogs

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  • Get of your horse and drink your T B infected milk . Typical leftie cop out

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  • Will the bagers have a skin test and then have the skin measured three days later to check if they already have tb? I don't think so, so infected badgers are going to get a pointless vaccine. We have a huge tb problem here in Wales and yet again our Assembly has let us down.

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  • Ah well, we all know the only vaccine that works is the lead one. But then the countryside is not for producing food, its for tourists to admire. I guess there will now be a "silent" cull, and lots more dead badgers with odd holes lying in the road for the tourists to admire.

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