The Welsh Assembly's Minister for Rural Affairs has confirmed this afternoon (Friday)that the Welsh Assembly Government's badger cull will be put on hold until after a Badger Trust appeal hearing.

The trust has successfully secured an appeal hearing on the High Court's April ruling that the badger cull in north Pembrokeshire is lawful.

Elin Jones' decision comes in the light of news that the hearing will be held in June 30th.

“We were initially advised that the appeal would be listed for hearing between November and February,” said the minister.

“ But it emerged on Wednesday afternoon that the Court of Appeal had agreed to an expedited hearing on June 30th. “ She said she was I am very grateful to the court for recognising the seriousness of the bovine TB problem in Wales.

"In light of the fact that the hearing will now be held very quickly, I can commit to a delay in removing badgers until the judgement is delivered,” she continued.

“I do so in anticipation of an early and positive judgment for the Welsh Assembly Government."

The minister said that the preparatory and scientific work underpinning the eradication programme would continue as would the strict cattle control measures in the cull zone.

The minister went on to say that she was disappointed that the Badger Trust had chosen to appeal the High Court decision which comprehensively dismissed the trust's four grounds of challenge.

“Bovine TB must be eradicated,” she said. “It’s blighted our cattle industry for far too long.

“Our comprehensive approach is based on the scientific evidence which shows that implementing strict cattle controls and culling badgers where necessary will substantially reduce TB in cattle.”