The Minister announced in March that he would be embarking on a badger vaccination programme within the Intensive Action Area as part of his efforts to eradicate TB from cattle in Wales.
Following three months of hard work behind the scenes and a training programme for operatives, vaccination formally began on Monday 11th June and will continue throughout the summer and early autumn.
So far the vaccination programme has resulted in the successful trapping and vaccination of over 275 badgers. This is the first time that a project to cage trap and vaccinate badgers on this ambitious scale has been undertaken.
Speaking about the programme, the Environment Minister said:
“Our Strategic Framework for Bovine TB Eradication acknowledges that we must deal with all sources of Bovine TB, including wildlife, if we are going to achieve our goal of eradicating this debilitating disease.
“I am pleased that following my March decision to vaccinate badgers we have been able to move very swiftly and have now begun rolling out our vaccination programme in the Intensive Action Area.
“Our decision to pursue a vaccination programme has enabled us to take quick and decisive action aimed at developing a degree of immunity to TB within the badger population. We believe that this will reduce the risk of TB transmission from badgers to cattle.
“I would like to thank farmers and landowners for their co-operation. We will be monitoring the results of vaccination, and of our whole eradication programme, carefully to ensure we are making good progress towards our ultimate goal of a TB free Wales.”
The Intensive Action Area (IAA) is primarily located in north Pembrokeshire, but includes small parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. The IAA is approximately 288km².
The vaccination programme has been carried out by employees from the Welsh Government who have successfully completed The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) course relating to the cage trapping and vaccination of badgers by injection.