Badger cull delay criticised

The decision by the Welsh government to delay the cull of badgers in Wales has been criticised by the farming sector.

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

Both the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) criticised the decision, claiming sufficient scientific research has already been carried out.

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.”

FUW TB spokesman and Vice President Brian Walters added: “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.”

>>Public opposed to badger cull

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