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'Badger shoot' protest over cull

18 January 10 17:49 GMT

A mock shooting of a badger has been staged outside the Welsh assembly, to protest against a cull of the animals.

Ministers have announced plans for a cull in a pilot area, mainly north Pembrokeshire, to combat bovine TB.

Around 30 Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (PAC) supporters dressed up as badgers enacted the mock killing on the steps of the Senedd building.

Cliff Benson from Pembrokeshire Against the Cull said there was no moral or scientific justification for the cull.

A protester in a badger costume crawled around around the steps of the Senedd building before becoming trapped in a cage and 'shot' by another protester brandishing a banana.

Mr Benson said he did not believe assembly members had asked people in west Wales for their views on the eradication plans.

"They've taken what we consider to be the advice of the best scientists in the country and they've ignored that and they've decided to go on with the cull.

"Morally we're against it, we know it doesn't make any sense scientifically, and we think that if these people expect to be elected in the future then they'd better not kill our badgers because we don't want them to."

The Welsh Assembly Government's controversial extermination programme is backed by opposition parties but is facing opposition from some animal welfare campaigners.

The Badger Trust is also seeking legal action over the matter.

Announcing the pilot cull last week, Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: "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 cull area covers 288km² (111 sq-mile) of north Pembrokeshire, and a small part of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

Ministers said there would also be stricter cattle control measures in the cull area.

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