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‘Get a grip on Bovine TB’

Created on 07/05/2019 @ 10:23
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An Assembly Member who represents Mid & West Wales has urged the Welsh Government to reconsider its policy over badger culling, insisting that the current policy does not work.

Speaking in the Senedd, Neil Hamilton said that 18 months after the launch of the refreshed eradication programme, the Government was losing the war against TB.

He claims that the NFU Cymru state that one in five badgers are infected with the disease which is spread onto cattle that are being culled at an alarming rate as a result.

“In 2017, the (Welsh) Government did seem to be taking steps in the right direction,” he said. “I applaud the Minister’s willingness to combat the disease in wildlife by cage trapping, testing

and humanely killing infected badgers. However, the figures are absolutely dismal.

“A cow is slaughtered in Wales, as a result of TB, every 46 minutes, whereas a badger is culled every 3.6 months. NFU Cymru have said that up to one in five badgers in Wales are infected with TB so we must get to grips with this problem and do something now.

“I realise this is a difficult and emotive issue, but the choice is stark, you either cull badgers or you cull cattle, and, of the two, I know which is preferable and most effective in the longer term.

“We must help our farmers now and tackle the spread of TB by way of English-style culls in Wales’s worst affected areas.

“TB is a terrible disease, whichever animal life has to suffer from it, and the impact is heartbreaking for farming families. Surely, it’s now time to think of following England’s example.”

Mr Hamilton added that the roll out of badger culling, in high risk areas of England, has been producing positive results, according to UK Government figures.

He said that in December 2018, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, revealed reduced disease in cattle over the four-year cull period, with the number of confirmed cattle breakdowns down by ‘around 50%’.

In the Gloucester area, in the 12 months following their fourth year of badger culling, the incidence rate dropped from 25% to 12% and in Somerset new herd incidence have dropped from 10.4% to 5.6%.

Badger culling has faced stiff opposition from wildlife groups in Wales who have questioned its effectiveness. The county also has an issue with illegal badger hunters, and just this weekend Dyfed-Powys Police reported the discovery of two suspicious carcasses in south Powys.

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