This morning's Court of Appeal judgment to halt the Welsh Assembly Government’s TB Eradication (Wales) Order has been described as “bitterly disappointing” by Wales' biggest farming unions.

Stephen James, NFU Cymru deputy president said that today's judgement cannot be the end of the line, the farming community needs an early indication of the options now available to control the disease and no stone must be left unturned in trying to find a to eradicate bovine TB (bTB).

“We are disappointed that the judiciary has been able to subvert the democratic process,” he said.

“The problem in wildlife cannot just be ignored. It is not going to go away unless there is a comprehensive strategy to get rid of the disease in both cattle and badgers.

“Sixty-four percent of herds in the Intensive Action Pilot Area (IAPA) have had bovine TB in the last six years and in the absence of an integrated approach to bTB eradication this number will only increase. That means this insidious disease will continue to spread through the badger population.”

He added that increasing cattle controls while doing nothing to control bTB in the badger population would not eradicate the disease, which would continue to wreck the lives of of farming families; ruined businesses and mean more cattle and calves would be destroyed.

The Farmers' Union of Wales said that the assembly must now look at the judgement and draft a further order so that moves to address the problem in badgers can go ahead.

The union's bTB spokesman, Brian Walters, said that farmers in north Pembrokeshire should not be subject to extra costs and onerous restrictions which he said are futile while badgers continue to infect cattle.

"Farmers throughout Wales, from Anglesey down to Monmouthshire, have been doing their bit to combat bTB for decades, and are now subject to more movement restrictions and bTB testing than ever before, all at huge expense,” he said.

“Farmers are doing their bit to control this disease, yet the court has decided that the most significant obstacle to controlling this disease, namely a highly infected badger population, cannot be addressed until further consideration of the facts is undertaken by the Assembly¹s Rural Affairs Minister.”