The Minister’s visit follows his decision to embark on a badger vaccination programme within the Intensive Action Area. The vaccination programme is part of the Welsh Government’s efforts to eradicate TB from cattle in Wales.
This is the first time that a project to cage trap and vaccinate badgers on this ambitious scale has been undertaken. So far the vaccination programme has resulted in the successful trapping and vaccination of over 430 badgers.
The Minister accompanied a team of operatives who were working in the Intensive Action Area and saw first hand how the vaccination process was being rolled out.
Speaking about his visit, the Environment Minister said:
“It was good to have the opportunity to go out with the field operatives and to witness the vaccination process first hand. I was impressed by the level of skill demonstrated by the operatives and the care they were taking to adhere to good bio security practices.
"The success of the programme hinges partly on the operatives being granted access to as much land as possible in the Intensive Action Area and I would like to thank farmers and landowners for their continuing 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.
The duration of a work cycle can vary between 3 and 4 weeks depending on the area to be covered and level of activity. A cycle of work begins with a visit to each land owner to request permission to access the land and it involves surveying for badger activity and sitting traps. It is only in the final week of the cycle that traps are set to catch the badgers for vaccination.