The Minister has set out plans for the Welsh Government to work with the National Trust to explore the practicalities of badger vaccination on National Trust land.
The announcement follows the Minister’s decision to embark on a badger vaccination programme within the Intensive Action Area (IAA), which includes North Pembrokeshire and parts of Ceredigion.
At the time of his decision to vaccinate in the IAA, the Minister also said that the Welsh Government would explore other geographical areas where vaccination could help towards TB eradication in badgers and cattle.
Speaking about the decision to collaborate with the National Trust, the 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.
“We have already begun vaccinating in the IAA. At the last count we had vaccinated over 430 badgers and the programme will continue well into the autumn.
“I am pleased that, since the decision to vaccinate was made, we have been able to take such speedy action to tackle TB in wildlife within the IAA. However I have always been clear that I also want to explore other areas of Wales where vaccination of badgers could be helpful.
“I am delighted that the National Trust is keen to work with us to explore potential for badger vaccination on their land. The National Trust is obviously a substantial land owner within Wales, and joint working with them is great news for our efforts to tackle TB.”
Justin Albert, Director of the National Trust in Wales said:
“The National Trust is very aware of the devastating effects of Bovine TB on farmers in Wales and has been working long and hard to try to find ways to protect herds, livelihoods, rural communities and wildlife.
“We are keen to work with the Welsh Government and the Chief Vet in the hope that we can remove the spectre of Bovine TB from our landscape.”
The National Trust owns 45,000 hectare in Wales which includes 200 tenanted farms.
A working group, consisting of Welsh Government and National Trust officials will now be established to consider how best to take forward this work. It is intended that the first meeting of the group will take place in September.