Concerns raised over cost of bTB vaccines
A year after the Welsh Government decided not to proceed with its planned badger culling programme, the National Farmers Union Cymru has attacked the alternative eradication scheme.
Deputy president of the union Stephen James said that according to the "Year I Report", the total cost of vaccinations so far amounts to £943,000. This figure, he continued, has covered the cost of vaccinating 1,424 badgers at £662 per jab.
"Here we are with a policy that in our opinion was not supported by the evidence put forward within the scientific review commissioned by the Welsh Government that is costing nearly £1 million annually to deliver a vaccine costing £26,000."
It was announced this week that additional measures will be introduced in Wales to provide a higher level of protection against bovine TB. Speaking in a Senedd Plenary session Environment Minister John Griffiths confirmed that some existing pre-movement testing exemptions will be amended, and a dedicated TB epidemiologist will be appointed by April.
However, Shadow Rural Affairs Minister, Antoinette Sandbach, has also expressed concerns over the spiralling costs of the badger vaccination pilot.
"The disease continues to spread, while the Welsh Government pursues a costly gamble with trial vaccination," she said. "Movement restrictions are being tightened, increasing costs and paperwork on farmers, while the most cost effective methods of eradicating TB are ignored and TB reserve in wildlife is not being tackled.
"It is alarming that £662 has been spent for each badger vaccinated yet the number of cattle being killed has increased since the vaccine was introduced."