There will be ‘no further action’ against the Welsh Government after a major blunder which saw it accidentally release the names and locations of farms involved in Wales’ badger cull.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales said it was disappointed in the Information Commissioner’s Office ruling, with the farming families in question finding themselves at the centre of a social media campaign by anti-cull campaigners who threatened their safety.
Dr Hazel Wright, FUW senior policy officer said: “Farmers would naturally expect Welsh Government to be held to account, mistake or not.”
Earlier this year the Welsh Government blamed an ’administrative error’ for the mistake which saw personal data being published in response to a freedom of information request.
The Welsh Government has since put procedures in place to reduce the likelihood of this mistake happening again.
But leader of the Welsh Conservatives Paul Davies called on the First Minister to apologise to farmers who were affected.
“This was an inexcusable oversight which put people at substantial risk, and will shatter the confidence that farmers have in the Welsh Government’s ability to handle the issue of bovine TB,” he said.
“The Government’s performance in this area was already questionable prior to this shambles, and it will clearly be some time before bovine TB is eradicated in Wales altogether. The Welsh Government needs to get its act together."
Dr Wright said cattle farmers were vulnerable, adding the union remained ‘extremely frustrated and alarmed’ about an existing open access bovine TB information portal which contained information used by anti-farming groups.
“The FUW has written several times to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs about this matter,” added Dr Wright.
“The vulnerability of cattle farmers to harassment from anti-cull groups is now well documented and cannot be disputed.
"The ever-increasing use of social media has provided a portal for quick, cheap and widespread information dissemination.
"We will continue to press for access to bovine TB information to be restricted in order to ensure that farming families are safeguarded from vigilantism and intimidating behaviour from animal rights extremists.”