Assembly Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development John Griffiths was today accused of betraying Welsh farmers by continuing to delay a decision on a badger cull in West Wales.
Farmers’ Union of Wales president Emyr Jones revealed he had written to Mr Griffiths expressing "extreme dismay" that the decision is being delayed yet again.
"These continued delays are a betrayal of the Welsh farming industry’s commitment to a holistic approach to controlling bovine TB," said Mr Jones.
The most recent delay - announced by First Minister Carwyn Jones last week - has also sparked a backlash from opposition AMs.
In June Mr Griffiths revealed badger cull plans, agreed by the previous Welsh Government, were being put on hold while a review was carried out into the science behind culling.
He initially promised the government would publish its results in the autumn, then said it would make an announcement before Christmas but a decision is not now expected until early 2012.
Emyr Jones’ letter to Mr Griffiths expresses extreme dismay that the minister has delayed making a decision in light of the report by the Bovine TB Science Review Panel despite having previously committed to making a decision in the autumn.
"The farming community has acted in good faith since the commitment in 2008 by the previous administration that an holistic bTB eradication programme would be pursued.
"Nowhere is this more true than in north Pembrokeshire, where heightened cattle controls in anticipation of a badger cull have necessitated a complete restructuring of many farm businesses and significant increased financial and emotional pressures for all cattle keepers."
The letter added that the FUW firmly believes "further procrastination regarding an holistic approach to controlling bTB represents a betrayal of the commitment of the industry" and the partnership approach which has developed throughout Wales and led to significant successes.
"Moreover, I also believe that it represents a betrayal of those public servants who have undertaken so much hard work in order to pursue the eradication programme," Mr Jones added.
"Farming families throughout Wales continue to suffer both financially and emotionally on a daily basis as a result of bTB, while thousands of animals continue be slaughtered as a result of the disease.
"Further indecision can only prolong this misery and delay the ultimate goal, which is eradication - something which is in the interests of all species.
"I would therefore urge you to reconsider your decision to renege on the commitment you gave previously."