Plans to revive badger cull in west Wales

Eight months ago plans to implement a badger cull in west Wales were put on hold following a winning appeal from the Badger Trust. The case has since been revived, and will tomorrow call upon Welsh Assembly Members (AMs) to vote on a legislative order. If votes are found to be in favor, the new legislation will allow authorities to proceed with a badger cull in north Pembrokeshire, and parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, Wales.

The controversial plans to cull badgers are part of a government attempt to help eradicate bovine TB, which is spread to cattle from badgers who are known carriers of the disease. There has been extensive research and much debate into the matter, with arguments over whether or not a cull offers an effective solution to controlling the disease making national headlines.

Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said “we must continue to pursue a comprehensive approach towards the eradication of bovine TB from Wales” and that she had decided to go ahead with the order subject to “substantial scientific evidence”. Opposition groups such as the Badger Trust and Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (PAC) argue that cases of infected cattle are falling, and that vaccination offers a more effective and humane method of control. The practical problems and costs associated with doing so however often limit vaccination success. Additionally, they argue that implementing a badger cull may actually increase the incidence of bovine TB, as culling badgers encourages their dispersal, and as a result spreads the disease further.

If AMs do not object at tomorrows vote, the legislative will come into force as of 31st March 2011, however if the voting indicates opposition to the cull, it could lead to further debate and a vote in the Senedd.