Welsh Environment Minister announces programme of badger vaccination

Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths yesterday launched the Welsh Government’s Strategic Framework for Bovine TB Eradication, which outlined a programme of badger vaccination to be introduced in the Intensive Action Area.

The Minister said the decision to pursue vaccination as opposed to culling of badgers was made based on ‘the evidence provided…including scientific and legal advice’ and that, at present, he is ‘not satisfied that a cull of badgers would be necessary to bring about a substantial reduction in cases of TB in cattle’.

A five year programme of vaccination is to be designed by the Chief Veterinary Officer and the Strategic Framework outlines a comprehensive longterm plan including measures for improved management of persistent cases of TB, piloting of an audit technique to assess TB testing, a voluntary scheme to facilitate the sharing of bovine TB data between neighbouring farms, and an advisory service for farmers whose herds are affected by the disease.

In his launch speech, Minister Griffiths emphasised that TB eradication will require longterm commitment and the use of new technological and scientific advances as they become available. A working group of experts, led by the Chief Veterinary Officer, will be created to develop the vaccination strategy.

The full Strategic Framework can be found on the Welsh Government website.