March 20, 2012
HSI/UK Welcomes Wales’ Decision to Abandon Badger Cull
by Mark Jones
The statement today from John Griffiths, the Welsh Assembly Minister for Environment and Economic Development, confirming that the Welsh Assembly has dropped plans to slaughter badgers in favour of a five-year vaccination scheme, is welcome news for badgers, cattle and farmers alike.
The minister is understood to have come to the decision after considering the outcomes of the Scientific Review of the control of bovine tuberculosis that he commissioned in 2011.
HSI/UK welcomes the announcement of a policy to tackle to bovine TB that is genuinely science-led, and recognises that the slaughter of thousands of badgers is neither necessary nor desirable.
The Welsh government should be applauded for analysing the evidence and bringing forward a plan that will be good for science, farmers and wildlife. This puts added pressure on DEFRA to withdraw its disastrous plans to license the slaughter of thousands of English badgers and to stop what will be a bloody and pointless slaughter that neither the majority of scientists nor the public supports.
Introducing a strategic framework for bovine TB eradication [PDF], Minister Griffiths announced that he would be pursuing a policy of badger vaccination within the intensive action area of north Pembrokeshire. He went on to say that he was "not satisfied that a cull of badgers would be necessary to bring about a substantial reduction in cases of TB in cattle".
According to the minister, the new framework will take "a comprehensive approach, with proposed policy changes including improved management of long running and persistent TB Herd breakdowns, the piloting of an audit of TB testing, a voluntary scheme to share bovine TB breakdown data between neighbouring farms, and an advisory service for farmers affected by the disease."
HSI/UK recently made a formal complaint to the Bern Convention concerning plans by the Westminster government to slaughter badgers in England.
Mark Jones is executive director of Humane Society International/UK.