ASSEMBLY Member for Cardiff South and Penarth, Lorraine Barrett gave the keynote speech at the 27th Conference of the Badger Trust, which was held at the University of Wales, Newport.

The first ever conference was organised by the Gwent Badger Group in 1982.

Organiser, Steve Clark, said: "It's right that we should be here this year with the fate of our Welsh badgers hanging in the balance – despite all the science, logic and commonsense that points toward a more sophisticated approach."

Almost 100 delegates attended to hear presentations on wildlife crime, diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis in live badgers, vaccination and badger behaviour.

Eminent speakers travelled from Northern Ireland, Scotland and the North of England to inform delegates of the latest developments.

Penarth AM Mrs Barrett, a member of the Badger Trust, has highlighted the plight of badgers for many years, and particularly over the past two years in speaking against the recommendation of the Assembly's Rural Affairs Committee for a cull of badgers following their enquiry into Bovine TB.

When Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones announced earlier this year that she would be pursuing a cull in North Pembrokeshire, Mrs Barret said in an Assembly debate: "If you cull the badgers, you'll have to cull me first."

She said at the time she was delighted to have made the front page of Farmers Weekly with that quote.

Mrs Barrett told the conference delegates, who had come from all parts of the UK: "I am obviously disappointed that my Labour colleagues in the Assembly Government have gone along with this proposal, but in a coalition there are often times when different parties have to agree with policies that they would not normally support.

"However, I will continue to speak out against this proposed cull.

"My Labour colleagues in the Cabinet, and the Plaid Cymru Minister, have got it plain wrong by going against the scientific evidence put forward by the Independent Scientific Group after years of research, when thousands of poor badgers were killed.

"To me, it is clear that a targeted cull just won't work and could make things worse."

She added: "I want to thank the Badger Trust and its members for their support over the past year or so.

"You all have so much knowledge about these beautiful creatures and I applaud you for the work you do on the ground to save and nurture them.”