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Experts at Bangor University are claiming that hundreds of farmers have illegally killed badgers, amid the ongoing controversy over attempts to control the spread of TB to cattle.
The experts believe that more than ten per cent of farmers have taken direct action -- despite the law. But that's a claim that's been dismissed by farm leaders, as Kevin Ashford explains.
Farmers in Wales who illegally cull badgers may be responsible for spreading Bovine TB.
That's according to a report published by the University of Bangor. It claims around one in ten of Wales' 14,000 livestock farmers had killed badgers in the twelve months leading up to the study.
The Welsh Government says badgers are protected animals, and the issue of illegally killing them is a matter for the police.
"You set a particular cull rate that you need to achieve for that to impact the disease and to decrease the rate of disease in an area" says Dr Paul Cross, from Bangor University.
"That's currently thought to be around 70% of all badgers. If you have an illegal killing rate going on the background that you're unaware of, you may have set the level of cull too high"
A report suggests that livestock farmers in Wales who illegally cull badger sets may be contributing to the spread of bovine TB.
Researchers from Bangor University say around 10% of Wales' 14,000 livestock farmers had killed badgers in the 12 months preceding the study.
The data was gathered by talking to farmers at markets and livestock events in Wales last year. The report concludes that policymakers have to factor in illegal killing when tackling Bovine TB.