Farmers back Welsh badger cull
BOTH farming unions in Wales have welcomed the decision to go ahead with a pilot area cull of badgers.
NFU Cymru president, Dai Davies, said the industry would never get rid of the growing scourge of bovine TB without the application of a comprehensive strategy that dealt with the problem in both cattle and badgers.
“Stringent measures have already been implemented to deal with the problem in cattle, extensive work has been undertaken by the TB programme board, environmental and ecological impact assessments have been done, expert scientific advice taken in determining the pilot area and we are entirely satisfied that the approach is based on sound science with every ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ now crossed.
“No-one should, however, expect to see a short-term fix. In the same way as there has been a steady escalation in the incidence of bovine TB it will take time to control and turn the disease position around.
“But at last there is now a hope of ridding ourselves of this dreadful disease,” he added.
Farmers Union of Wales bTB spokesman, Brian Walters, said it marked “an important step” towards reducing incidence in an area with one of the highest rates of the disease in Europe.
“The work undertaken and commissioned by the office of the chief veterinary officer shows this decision is the right one - and the only one likely to result in significant falls in bTB.”
He was, however, concerned that a legal challenge by the Badger Trust should not derail the eradication programme.
“It has taken a great deal of work to get to this position, but as time marches on the epidemic continues to grow. A lengthy and drawn out court case would see the epidemic continue to escalate.
“There seems to be no end to the unfounded and misleading statements being issued, by many of those who oppose the cull, which fly in the face of conclusive scientific evidence gathered over almost four decades.
“There is no doubt that badgers are the major obstacle to controlling the spread of bTB to cattle and that badger culling works. Any talk about farming practices being a significant factor are unfounded and have been shown to be such following numerous initiatives aimed at cattle alone,” he added.
“The bottom line is that badgers and cattle share the same fields, yet we have been culling tens of thousands of cattle while ignoring the wildlife reservoir.”