Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Sunday, 7 February 2010

New group fights badger cull in west Wales

A badger
Opponents say a badger cull could make bovine TB worse

A new group opposed to the badger cull planned for parts of west Wales to tackle the spread of bovine TB has held its first public meeting.

John Evans of Save the Badger, which met in Llantrisant, said it presented a united front against a "cruel" cull to slaughter thousands of animals.

The assembly government has said the pilot cull in Pembrokeshire is needed alongside stricter cattle controls.

Ministers have said bovine TB is "out of control and unsustainable".

The Badger Trust _ which is a member of Save the Badger - is also seeking a judicial review of the decision to hold the cull.

John Evans, of Save the Badger
We need to unite to show the people of Wales there is so much opposition to this from so many organisations with all kinds of interests
John Evans, Save the Badger

Mr Evans said the public were not aware of the scale of the cull and that badgers would be killed "in their thousands".

He said the Save the Badger group had been created now because "so many organisations have already been doing things in isolation to each other.

"We need to unite to show the people of Wales there is so much opposition to this from so many organisations with all kinds of interests.

"But on this one issue we all unite - we want to stop the cull of badgers in Wales."

Mr Evans also said the group planned "to demonstrate and protest and hopefully get people to change their minds".

He said: "We're not advocating breaking the law. We will stay within the law. We believe we have the public behind us."

Compensating farmers

The assembly government gave the final go-ahead for the cull, with more frequent testing of cattle, in January.

The cull area covers 288 sq km (111 sq mile) of north Pembrokeshire, and a small part of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

Opposition parties in the assembly have backed the decision.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said in January: "Bovine TB is out of control and unsustainable and last year cost the taxpayer nearly £24m in compensating farmers.

"We know that cattle and badgers are the main sources of the disease and that, if we want to achieve our aim of eradicating bovine TB, we have to tackle the disease in both species.

"The approach we will be taking in the pilot area, carrying out a badger cull alongside strict cattle controls, has not been tried before in the UK.

"However, it is proving successful in countries like New Zealand, where wild possums and cattle are the main sources of infection."



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SEE ALSO
Final go-ahead for badger cull
13 Jan 10 |  Wales
Judicial review over badger cull
02 Nov 09 |  Wales
All Wales cattle checked for TB
01 Jan 10 |  North West Wales
Bovine TB wipeout plan announced
24 Sep 08 |  Wales

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