1. ITV Report

TB infected badgers could be killed

The Welsh Government's considering tougher measures to tackle TB in badgers and cattle Photo: PA

Badgers could be trapped in cages and killed if they test positive for TB under Welsh Government plans to reduce the disease in cattle.

Rural Affairs minister Lesley Griffiths says she won't take the course her Plaid Cymru predecessor Elin Jones wanted to follow - shooting all badgers in infected areas - although a similar policy has since been introduced in parts of England.

Instead the minister says she will "consider" learning from a pilot in Northern Ireland, where badgers were cage-trapped and infected animals humanely killed.

Working with vets and wildlife experts, the Cabinet Secretary will consider whether a similar approach might be appropriate in high incidence areas where there is chronic herd breakdown and an objective confirmation that badgers are infected.

– Welsh Government

There will be a consultation on the plans, under which different parts of Wales would be categorised as low, intermediate and high TB areas, with different severity of measures, which will include controls on cattle movements. The consultation will also look at capping the compensation paid to farmers with infected cattle at £5,000 instead of the present £15,000. That idea's opposed by the farming unions, who have otherwise given the consultation a cautious welcome.

We have always said that we must use every option available to us, this includes; cattle testing, cattle controls, improving biosecurity, encouraging farmers to make informed purchasing decisions and strengthening the role that local vets play in tackling this horrendous disease. Any comprehensive TB eradication strategy must also actively remove infection from diseased wildlife across high incidence areas.

– NFU Cymru President Stephen James

Targeting infected badgers would be a welcome move, but it is disappointing that it has taken so many years to move back towards common sense after the original comprehensive plan to tackle the disease in wildlife was abandoned by the previous Welsh Government.

– FUW President Glyn Roberts