BLAENAU Gwent AM Trish Law has called for the proposed badger cull to be abandoned.

Mrs Law has appealed to rural affairs minister Elin Jones to ditch the controversial plan in the light of a new report which says the slaughter will have only a limited effect.

The AM has written to the minister drawing her attention to a new report which concludes that the benefits of a cull “disappeared” within four years.

Defra, the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, commissioned Imperial College London and Zoological Society of London to carry out a study in the aftermath of cull trials in England.

The study came to the conclusion that “benefits” from widespread badger culling are not sustained three-and-a-half years after a cull has ended.

Mrs Law has told the minister she believes the proposed badger cull centred on north Pembrokeshire later this year is a “brutal, heartless and inhumane” act and has urged her to reconsider her decision to proceed with it.

“Scientific evidence, accepted by Defra, has consistently shown that moving cattle and buying in cattle are the greatest risk factors for bovine TB.

“The latest evidence now casts serious doubt over whether the proposed cull is cost-effective. This new report suggests there will be no long-term benefit.

“It’s not too late for Elin Jones to pull back from the brink.”

A Welsh Assembly spokesperson said: "During the last ten years we have spent almost £100,000,000 on compensation alone in Wales. We can't let this situation continue unchecked.

"We are not repeating the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) approach in Wales.

“What we are proposing is to combine a limited cull of badgers with strict cattle control measures within a defined area over a sustained period.

“Although there are similarities between the RBCT and the pilot area we are establishing in West Wales, the differences are so significant to prevent true comparison of the results and we are confident of a much longer-term success rate as a result."

"The Rural Affairs Minister remains fully committed to vigorously pursuing a programme of bovine TB eradication."