Badgers are to be culled in Wales, which is the first such cull in Britain for two decades, in order to stop the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle.

Elin Jones, rural affairs minister, announced the decision at the Welsh Assembly, after Dr Christianne Glossop, Wales’s chief vet, declared TB ‘out of control’. In 1997, 700 badgers tested positive for TB, which rose to 8,000 last year.

Farmers criticised the announcement of the badger cull, saying that the ‘intensive action pilot area’ of Wales was not defined, and that it was unclear as to who would carry out the cull.

Farmers in England, however, encouraged Hilary Benn to follow suit with a badger cull in England.

The Badger Trust declared the badger cull ‘cynical’. Trevor Lawson for Badger Trust Cymru said: ‘This cynical culling proposal is sacrificial politics at its worst and has nothing to do with science.’

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said the badger cull was a ‘colossal mistake’.

Dai Davies, President of the National Farmers Union Cymru said: ‘We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the ever increasing raft of scientific evidence which points to both cattle and badgers being involved in the transmission of bovine TB.

‘Despite the measures already taken and aimed at containing the disease in cattle there has been a 750 per cent rise in the number of cattle slaughtered last year compared to a decade ago.’

The Welsh Assembly intends also to start testing llamas, alpacas and guanacos for TB. The badger cull, intended to stop the spread of TB, is the first such cull in Britain for two decades.

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