Doubts cast on badger vaccination programme

Figures uncovered by the Welsh Conservatives today cast doubt on the effectiveness of the Welsh Labour Government’s badger vaccination programme.




Despite the vaccination programme, which has vaccinated 1,424 badgers at a cost of £662.22 per badger, the number of herds under movement restrictions due to TB incidents has actually risen by 15% in the past year.




In March 2013, the latest month for which figures are available, 1,185 herds were under movement restrictions compared to 1,029 in April 2012 before the vaccination programme began.




Between April 2012 and March 2013, 8,477 animals were slaughtered because they had contracted bovine TB.




Antoinette Sandbach AM, Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, said, "These figures show that Labour’s badger vaccination programme as a means of controlling the spread of bovine TB is not working.




"In the past year, nearly 8,500 cattle have been slaughtered because they contracted this terrible disease and over the same period the number of herds of cattle put on movement restrictions due to TB has risen by 15%.




"The programme has cost nearly a million pounds in its first year alone, equating to a cost of £662 for each and every badger vaccinated.




"The vaccination programme cannot be seen as a success when so many farmers have been forced to slaughter their infected animals and when the number of herds on TB alert has gone up.




"After a year of vaccinating, the Welsh Labour Government should now pause and assess the impact of its policy and consider switching to a more effective way of tackling the spread of bovine TB.




"I hope the Minister will listen to the views of farmers and take appropriate action to stop the spread of this disease which is threatening the livelihoods of many in our agricultural industry."