Wales badger cull decision early in 2012

Badger Plans for a cull in north Pembrokeshire were put on hold in June

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First Minister Carwyn Jones says a decision on plans for a badger cull in parts of west Wales will be made early next year.

Opponents have accused the Welsh government of delaying a decision that was initially expected in the autumn.

The cull was put on hold in June when ministers appointed an independent panel to review scientific evidence.

The cull had been part of an attempt by the previous Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition government to combat TB.

'Science-led'

Labour, which has been governing alone since May's assembly election, has promised a "science-led" approach towards bovine TB.

At question time in the Senedd, Conservative AM Paul Davies said one of the main priorities of farmers in his constituency was tackling bovine TB which was having a huge impact on cattle.

Start Quote

The truth of the matter is that there is no new scientific evidence”

End Quote Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM Plaid Cymru

Mr Davies' Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency was to be the site of the so-called intensive action area where badgers were to be culled.

He said he understood the panel met for the last time on 11 November - five months after Environment Minister John Griffiths announced the review.

Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas said the government promised the decision would not be unnecessarily delayed.

"The truth of the matter is that there is no new scientific evidence. All you're trying to do is defer the decision because you don't have the courage that the former minister had," he said, referring to the previous Plaid minister Elin Jones.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said it was "very strange" for someone who had not seen the report to state that there was no new scientific evidence.

He said: "A full statement will be made during the early months of next year."

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