Badger vaccine grant is hailed
BADGER campaigners in Carmarthenshire say they are pleased with the news that farmers can now receive a Badger Vaccination Grant.
The new grant, which has been opened for applications, will support privately delivered badger vaccination projects in Wales.
Alun Davies, the Minister for Natural Resources announced the new grant this week.
The Badger Vaccination Grant will provides farmers, landowners and others who wish to vaccinate badgers against bovine TB with the opportunity to benefit from financial support covering up to half their costs.
Mr Davies said: "There is no quick fix to eradicating TB. It requires a long-term approach that includes a number of different measures and relies upon the support and co-operation of Welsh farmers and landowners.
"We are already carrying out a five year vaccination programme in our Intensive Action Area but I have also allocated £1.25 million, over five years, to establish the Badger Vaccination Grant that we hope will lead to more badgers being vaccinated across Wales. This programme and additional funding is another step in helping us work towards our ultimate goal of a TB free Wales."
Carmarthenshire campaigner and secretary of Badger Watch Mike Sharratt said he was pleased to hear about the grant.
He said: "Badger Watch and Rescue Dyfed, your local badger group, are most pleased that Alun Davies, the Minister for Natural Resources has announced that a grant will be made to farmers and landowners to support privately delivered badger vaccination projects in Wales.
"Surely farmers and landowners in Wales will want to go further down the vaccination way instead of wanting to copy the disastrous badger culling programme which is taking place in England."
Mr Sharratt said in Somerset they over estimated the badger population by nearly half and then found they could not kill as many as they wanted too.
"After that disaster the Minister Owen Paterson said he had even considered gassing the badgers.
"The 'pilot trial' in England was supposed to test safety, humaneness and efficacy of free shooting but cage trapping was introduced after only three weeks. Why? Because as forecast by Badger Trust and many experts from other fields, free –shooting of badgers is very difficult to achieve in accordance with licence conditions.
"It also would be incredible to go the same way as England when the scientists have made it very clear that badgers are not the main TB problem."
He said this was made very clear by the Independent Scientific Group which stated 'badger cull cannot meaningfully contribute to the control of cattle TB in Britain'.
Mr Sharratt added: "So surely the farmers and landowners in Wales will be very keen to take up the vaccination grant offered by Alun Davies, the Minister for natural Resources and not copy England."