Last July we brought you the news that the new Welsh government had decided to put plans for a badger cull in Wales on hold while they reviewed the scientific basis for culling badgers as a means of reducing TB in cattle. Today we’re pleased to announce that following the review the government has decided that a vaccination program will take place instead of the cull.
After delivering the news to the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday, Environment Minister John Griffiths was congratulated by animal welfare groups around the country. He told the Press Association that he was “not at present satisfied a cull of badgers would be necessary to bring about a substantial reduction in the incidence of bovine TB in cattle.”
Replacing the cull is a five-year vaccination program, due to commence this summer in the so-called Intensive Action Area (IAA) in Wales. The IAA is considered to be one of the worst TB hotspots in the country and the government has come under intense pressure to bring the problem under control in the region. However, despite claims that culling badgers could reduce TB by up to 16%, the government remained unconvinced this was the most effective long-term strategy for the eradication of this devastating disease.
Andrew Plumbly, Executive Director at Network for Animals, said, “We are delighted that the Welsh government has chosen to pursue a science-led policy that not only protects the welfare of badgers, but also focuses on a humane, long-term strategy to eradicate TB. We would also urge him to improve current cattle control measures and focus on improved cattle welfare in addition to pursuing the vaccination program.”
Network for Animals supporters joined the fight against the cull led by the Badger Trust and local opposition group, Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (PAC). Now that the Welsh government have decided against a cull, Network for Animals are urging supporters to continue writing to their MP about the English cull in the hope the decision can be replicated.