Tensions rise as Pembroke badger cull looms
1 June 2010 - BBC News
By Iolo ap Dafydd BBC Wales environment correspondent
Tensions are increasing in north Pembrokeshire as the
Welsh Assembly Government's
(WAGs) plans for a badger cull create anger and fear. The WAG will not say when
the badger killing scheme is to start, but it is believed to be imminent. The badger
been ordered as part of a so-called "pilot" project to cut bovine TB.
The scheme has faced vocal opposition from some campaigners, including the
Badger Trust, which recently lost a legal bid to halt the project. John Davies,
the Pembrokeshire council leader, is also a farmer, and is worried about the
effect on relations between neighbours with opposing views on the cull. "What is
of great concern to myself is the tensions that seem to be brewing in the land
amongst communities, between neighbours where there is a difference," he said.
"Everyone is entitled to have a different opinion on this matter... democracy
has spoken and whether we agree with the consequence of that democratic process
we have to abide by it. A lot of people are too afraid to speak on this matter."
Many farmers who back the badger cull as one method of many to quash TB which
has infected their cows are unwilling to talk in public. There are fears they
may be targeted for voicing their support for a policy in this part of Wales to
kill a wild animal, which in other parts of the UK is protected by law.
Celia Thomas, chair of
Against the Cull, said some people still
did not realise that it would happen on their land. "They have no idea that
there's this order in place that allows the government access," she said. "There
are so many smaller landowners who think they can just opt out. Obviously the
focus has to be on the bigger farmers and the cull is geared to try and reduce
TB breakdowns. But in north Pembrokeshire we have an awful lot of people who
aren't part of that network." She said many farmers were concerned that the cull
might not be the solution, and her group believed vaccination was a "much better
way" of tackling the problem.
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