The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Rebecca Evans, visited a farm in Pembrokeshire yesterday to see the badger vaccination process first-hand.
The farm is within the Intensive Action Area (IAA) in north Pembrokeshire where the third year of the Welsh Government’s five year badger vaccination project is underway.
The vaccination project, which aims to develop a degree of immunity to TB within the badger population, is part of the Welsh Government’s comprehensive TB eradication programme. The programme has received endorsement by the European Commission for the past five years for its solid evidence-based approached and its use of annual testing of cattle, strict biosecurity measures and movement controls.
In the first year of its badger vaccination project the Welsh Government successfully caught and vaccinated over 1400 badgers. This was followed by over 1350 badgers in the second year, while provisional figures indicate that over 1000 badgers have been successfully vaccinated so far this year.
Rebecca Evans said:
“Bovine TB is one of the biggest challenges facing Wales’ farming industry, so I was keen to visit the Intensive Action Area in Pembrokeshire to see how the vaccination project is being carried out.
“I am pleased to have met those who undertake the vaccinations and I was impressed by the professional nature of the project.
“Participation in this project is entirely voluntary and I am grateful to farmers and landowners for their ongoing effort and cooperation as we work together to tackle this devastating disease.
“We are continuing to carefully monitor the results of vaccination and our wider eradication programme to ensure we are making good progress towards our goal of a TB free Wales.”
The vaccination work is undertaken in cycles and is expected to continue until the end of October. To date, five of eight planned vaccination cycles in the IAA have been completed. The vaccination cycles last approximately three weeks – the first two weeks involve liaising with the landowner and preparatory work, with vaccination taking place in the third week.
Vaccination is carried out under licence by Welsh Government employees who have successfully completed Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency course relating to the cage trapping and vaccination of badgers by injection.
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