THE badger cull in Wales has been branded a failure by the Badger Trust after a report revealing that more than £380,000 was spent killing just five badgers in a bid to stop the spread of TB in cattle.

The report by the Animal and Plant Health Agency reviewed work at three farms from August to November last year following the Welsh Government's policy to introduce targeted culling in areas suffering chronic levels of bovine TB.

Across these sites, badgers were trapped and tested for TB and killed if they proved positive.

The cost of the trapping, equipment, testing and post-mortem examinations came to £383,212 or £76,662 for each of the badgers killed.

This figure also included work to protect cattle and stop the disease spreading.

Recently deputy president of the FUW Brian Thomas called for extra moves to combat the disease in the wildlife population after his north Pembrokeshire herd tested positive for the first time in a decade.

The APHA report reveals that when blood tests on the captured badgers were repeated in the laboratory, none proved positive on a 12-week tissue culture.

Badger Trust chief executive Dominic Dyer described the policy as "a huge failure".

He called for an immediate end to culling and said the previous vaccination policy as "far more cost effective and humane".

The Welsh Government has pointed out that the TB organism does not grow easily in the laboratory, meaning a negative test does not prove the animals did not have it.

Cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths continues to rule out a cull on the scale of that in England.