Pembrokeshire badger cull ‘could start within weeks’

Targeted badger removal in cattle herds with persistent bovine TB outbreaks could get underway in Pembrokeshire within weeks.

Pembrokeshire and parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire have been categorised as high risk TB areas in the Welsh Government’s new regionalised approach to TB eradication.

In high TB areas, a localised cull of infected badgers is one of several new tactics described by Wales’s cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths, as “appropriate and reasonable’’.

Badgers in herds with chronic breakdowns will be trapped and blood tested by government vets and support field operatives; if the animals test positive for TB, they will be humanely culled.

Those that test negative will be microchipped and released but if further laboratory testing confirms disease, they will be trapped again and culled.

A large-scale cull has been ruled out; badger removal will be limited to around 50-60 herds.

Although some of the new measures in the TB eradication programme require legislation and will therefore not be introduced until October 1, badger culling does not and could start immediately.