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'Badger cull would be costly and futile' Animal group and farm union clash over move to halt TB in cows.


AN ANIMAL trust group yesterday claimed a proposed badger cull to tackle bovine TB in Wales would be a senseless slaughter.

And Badger Trust Cymru officials said in a new report that the move would have no effect on the disease.

The Trust spoke out as Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones announced she was considering a proposed cull.

Yesterday National Farmers Union vice-president Ed Bailey claimed the evidence showed there was a clear link between bovine TB and a growing badger population.

A badger cull would form part of a strategy to tackle the problem.

The Badger Trust said it was a cheap political "quid pro quo" for the farming unions, disguised as scientific research.

But Mr Bailey responded: "That sort of ignorance takes my breath away."

Northern Ireland had a similar TB situation to Wales, the Badger Trust claimed, but had halved the problem in four years through better cattle testing, monitoring and enforcement, without killing a single badger.

In contrast they claimed, the Republic of Ireland has been exterminating badgers non-stop since 2002 and had not even dented its bovine TB problem.

Trevor Lawson, bovine TB advisor to Badger Trust Cymru, said: "There is a very real danger that the Welsh Assembly Government will sleep-walk into badger culling despite the overwhelming evidence that it doesn't work.

"Such a cull will cost Welsh taxpayers millions, wreck tourist's perception of rural Wales and do nothing to control or eradicate bovine TB.

"We very much hope that Elin Jones will have the political wisdom to reject the culling proposal from Rural Development Sub-Committee and instead focus all her resources on cattle, which are the real reservoir of bovine TB infection."

Mr Bailey said the culling would be part of a holistic policy to tackle bovine TB on many fronts.

At this stage it is not known where the culls would initially take place in Wales if they are given the go-ahead, but South Wales is thought to be more likely than North Wales.

Merionnydd based Mr Bailey said: "I am not in a TB area, but the people that are, are in desperate straits.

"It is not the case that this is the fault of one species.

"What we need is an holistic approach from the Welsh Assembly Government to tackle the problem.

"There is scientific evidence that there is a link but what comes first it is difficult to say. We are not talking about the wholesale killing of badgers, that is propaganda being put out."


An animal group has called badger culls senseless, clashing with the NFU's Ed Bailey (left)
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 31, 2008
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