Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 14:37 UK

Police examine badger killings

Dead badger
The bodies were passed to a vet for post mortem examinations

Four badgers found dead in a field in Pembrokeshire appear to have been killed illegally, an assembly government vet has found.

Police will now investigate following the post mortem examinations.

The RSPCA has said it believed farmers may have taken a proposed cull of badgers into their own hands following the discovery near Crymych on 18 April.

A cull of badgers was announced this month as part of a pilot project to stamp out tuberculosis in cattle.

However, the location of the pilot area and details of the cull have yet to be decided.

In a statement, the assembly government said: "A post-mortem on the badgers from the Crymych area has provided sufficient evidence to suggest that they were killed illegally.

Illegal action is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated
Welsh Assembly Government statement

"The Welsh Assembly Government has passed the information to the police and it is now being investigated by them.

The statement added the assembly government has made it clear that the badger remains a protected species in Wales and the conditions of the Badger Act are firmly in force.

"Illegal action is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

Earlier this week RSPCA inspector Gemma Black said: "These badgers died in suspicious circumstances, but we need the public to help us pursue this matter.

"It may be that some farmers have decided to kill these badgers following the WAG's decision to cull badgers as part of the campaign to eradicate TB in cattle.

A member of the public alerted the RSPCA to the incident on 18 April.

Dai Davies, president of farmers' union NFU Cymru, said: "We don't condone this behaviour.

"Badgers are still a protected species and if any behaviour like this is seen, people should call the police."

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