No badger cull plan in TB fight
15 Dec 2005 - BBC News
Welsh Assembly Government has said it has "no immediate plans" to
cull badgers as part of a package of measures to control bovine TB
in Wales. There has been pressure from some vets and farmers for a badger
cull as part of a strategy to combat the disease.
Countryside Minister Carwyn Jones said more needed to be learned
about TB in badgers, although there is to be consultation on a cull
The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) said the announcement was
Bovine TB is estimated to cost the farming industry in Wales and
the assembly government millions of pounds annually.
Last year more than 5,500 cattle were killed in Wales as a result
of the disease.
Badgers have been blamed by some farmers for spreading it.
The issue is devolved to the Welsh assembly, but the UK
Government announced on Thursday that a consultation on badger culls
was among plans to step up the fight against tuberculosis in cattle
The consultation exercise will cover whether to cull badgers in
areas hit badly by bovine TB, and how to do it.
In a statement also released on Thursday, Mr Jones said there are
no immediate plans to cull badgers in Wales.
He added: "While we have no immediate plans to cull badgers, we
recognise there is a gap in our knowledge of the disease in badgers
We will carry out a survey of badgers found dead to establish
whether they are carrying bovine TB. This will be supported by a survey of badger populations."
Mr Jones added that he believed bovine TB was the most serious
and urgent animal health problem currently being faced in Wales.
He said other measures would be taken to control increasing cases
of the disease.
"Evidence shows that cattle movements play a role in the way TB
is spread," he went on.
"Testing cattle before they are moved is therefore important if
we are to keep clean areas of Wales free from infection whilst
ensuring our farmers are able to continue trading with the rest of
Following the announcement, the FUW's TB spokesman, Evan R
Thomas, said: "The assembly is introducing measures that will
increase the financial hardships for businesses hit by this terrible
disease and focus mainly on the disease in cattle with no moves to
combat the disease in badgers. TB in cattle has increased at a rate never before
recorded...with the number of cattle slaughtered rising by some 700%
since 1997. During the last four years the assembly have slaughtered 21,688
Welsh cattle due to TB, and not one single badger... and it is
scientifically proven that badgers give TB to cattle."
NFU Cymru added that it believedt the spread of the disease
should be addressed not just in infected cattle but in infected
Speaking before the assembly government announcement,
conservation charity the Badger Trust said TB control should be
"cattle focused" and that culling the animals was not a policy based
on "sound science".
The Badger Trust warned in a statement on Wednesday that
proposals to cull badgers would be a "shabby political deal to
appease farmers rather than a policy based on sound science".
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