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'Illegal badger kill' over delay

30 September 2008 - BBC News

A farmer in Wales says badgers are being killed illegally amid the lack of a date for a pilot cull to tackle bovine TB. In April Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones announced a targeted cull and a three-year scheme has been outlined. But she will not make a statement on the cull until early next year.

Many in the farming community have long blamed badgers for spreading bovine TB but animal groups say evidence does not support this. Carwyn James who farms organic cattle in Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire, told the programme: "The assembly government has been talking about the cull for long enough. The cost of the epidemic now is astronomical. They really have to do something now. More and more badgers are being killed illegally. Farmers are losing patience and badgers are being killed in this area every week."

... Brian Walters, deputy president of the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW), said: "If the minister doesn't get this right we can forget about tackling TB in the Welsh countryside. It will be rampant in wildlife and out of control."

... However, conservationists say badgers are being wrongly victimised for an illness brought on by modern, intensive farming. Animal campaigners have described the intended cull as "misguided" and recently held protests in Bridgend, Cardiff, Haverfordwest, Lampeter, Llandysul, Porthmadog, Swansea, Wrexham and Oswestry.

Huw Roberts, of the Clwyd Badger Group, said "Scientific experiments have shown that it is cattle that are transmitting TB to badgers," he says. "I'm certain that the epidemic is caused by moving cattle from one area to another." ...

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