FOLLOWING the announcement that plans for a badger cull have been dropped, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Alun Davies, has issued a message to farmers saying the Welsh Government was on their side.

Environment Minister John Griffiths announced his decision to pursue a programme of vaccination, instead of a cull, as part of efforts to eradicate Bovine TB, in the Senedd this afternoon.

Mr Davies said: “Bovine TB is a disease which has for many years devastated farming communities. It causes many thousands of animals to be killed every year and costs the agricultural industry and the Welsh Government many millions of pounds.

“I also recognise the human costs of the disease. It is devastating for families who lose entire herds and in some cases see not only their livelihoods threatened but a lifetime’s work lost. It is also very distressing for farmers whose herds are under long term restrictions.

“This Welsh Government is on the side of farmers and the farming community and is determined to tackle the shadow that bovine TB casts across our countryside.

“I welcome the Government’s confirmation that it will not stand by and allow the disease to continue to devastate the agricultural community. I welcome the statement that has been made today and I welcome the urgency with which the Government now intends to move to address the reservoir of infection in the wildlife population.

“This statement means decisive action to address the issue of wildlife-to-cattle transmission and I know that all farmers will welcome the urgency with which this programme will now be delivered.

“Successive Welsh Governments have pursued a policy of eradication of this disease and the progress made under the previous administration is recognised. It is this comprehensive approach that provides the key building blocks of the current Government’s policy.

“The farming community has already worked hard to implement biosecurity regimes to address cattle-to-cattle transmission of the disease and I am grateful for the commitment that many hundreds of individual farmers have shown.

“I hope that the farming community and vets will continue to work in partnership with the Welsh Government. Through joint working we can deliver the results that we all want to see and will contribute towards the eradication of TB from Wales.”