Environment Minister, John Griffiths has confirmed that Wales’ ground-breaking badger vaccination programme is now firmly underway in north Pembrokeshire.

The Minister announced in March that he would be embarking on a badger vaccination programme within the Intensive Action Area as part of his efforts to eradicate TB from cattle in Wales.

Following three months of hard work behind the scenes and a training programme for operatives, vaccination formally began on Monday and will continue throughout the summer and early autumn.

So far this week the vaccination programme has resulted in the successful trapping and vaccination of over 275 badgers. This is the first time that a project to cage trap and vaccinate badgers on this ambitious scale has been undertaken.

“Our Strategic Framework for Bovine TB Eradication acknowledges that we must deal with all sources of Bovine TB, including wildlife, if we are going to achieve our goal of eradicating this debilitating disease,” said Mr Griffiths.

“I am pleased that following my March decision to vaccinate badgers we have been able to move very swiftly and have now begun rolling out our vaccination programme in the Intensive Action Area.

“Our decision to pursue a vaccination programme has enabled us to take quick and decisive action aimed at developing a degree of immunity to TB within the badger population. We believe that this will reduce the risk of TB transmission from badgers to cattle.

“I would like to thank farmers and landowners for their co-operation. We will be monitoring the results of vaccination, and of our whole eradication programme, carefully to ensure we are making good progress towards our ultimate goal of a TB free Wales.”

The 288km square Intensive Action Area (IAA) is primarily located in north Pembrokeshire, but includes small parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.