UK & World News
Badger Culls To Go Ahead In Two Areas
Two pilot badger culls to tackle the spread of bovine tuberculosis will go ahead in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset.
The culls, which will see 70% of badgers killed in each area, were authorised by Government agency Natural England after final licence conditions were met.
The two pilot culls were delayed last year following bad weather and the discovery that there were more badgers in the areas than previously estimated.
From June 1, up to 5,000 badgers will be killed across the two areas annually over a six week period for four years.
An area in Dorset will be prepared as a reserve in case one of the existing licensed cull areas cannot be used, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said.
He said tackling bovine TB had cost the taxpayer £500m in the past 10 years, and costs could reach £1bn over the next decade if the disease was left unchecked.
Speaking at the National Farmers' Union conference in Birmingham, he said: "Bovine TB is spreading at an alarming rate and causing real devastation to our beef and dairy industry.
"The authorisation letters issued today confirming culling can proceed this summer in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset is an important step towards taking the action we need to tackle the spread of this disease in wildlife.
"I am determined that there are no further delays this year."
The pilots are being carried out to test whether free shooting is an effective and humane way to remove badgers.
Mr Paterson said Britain had to learn from experience elsewhere that TB could not effectively be curbed without tackling the problem in wildlife.
He said he wanted to see effective and affordable vaccines deployed for both cattle and badgers as quickly as possible but it was likely to take another decade before the deployment of a cattle vaccine which is validated and legal under EU regulations could take place.
National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall welcomed the move which he said would help reduce the damage TB did to the country's food production base.
He described the 35,000 cattle which had to be slaughtered because of the disease in 2012 as a "scandalous waste".
But the measure has been criticised by Labour, which has consistently opposed a badger cull.
Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said 150,000 people had signed a petition against it last year and scientists had warned against the "untested and risky approach".
She said: "As incompetent Defra ministers stagger from one crisis to the next, the policing costs, paid by the taxpayer, will balloon to £4m while bovine TB will increase in the next two years as the shooting displaces badgers.
"Ministers should listen to the public and the scientists and drop this cull before any more public money is wasted."
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what do you think?
This is appauling. . TB in cattle is not exclusively transmitted by badgers. So not only is it immoral but its also going to be ineffective. As vile a concept as fox hunting and dog fighting. Badgers will be slaughtered for nothing.
Try been the poor farmer who lost 83 brown swiss cattle.tb needs to be stoped or there will be no farmers left
Where does all the cow go though? Not in my food I've heard.
Bryan dunn i do not have a car never mind a land rover as for subs by time defRa have modulatted it you get very little also cow corn prices have rocketed .so get your facts right mate
Bryan dunn not every farmer gets large payouts as you need a very large farm .as for set aside i have none.i make more money from bail bond enforcement than farming in uk
Why not try vaccination instead? Oh I forgot that's right, its expensive. So the REAL reasons behind the cull is money and dirty farming practises, just like Mad Cow Disease. Did the badgers and foxes cause that? No. Greedy farmers feeding infected cattle meat to young calves did. Profit before health. Profit before clean farming methods. Profit before anything. I hope Mother Nature herself punishes those who transgress against her wildlife
We won't be happy until there is no wildlife left and then we can rule the earth. What a great species we are.
there's no proof the cattle catch the tb from badgers - just old wives tales spread by farmers
Humane?!? What is humane about killing a wild badger living out it's life in nature just because it affects the ability to be able produce sub standard cheap meat! Absolutely disgraceful!
human culling happening in africa and middle east already
WTF are you on about?
MARK HUSSEY - By whose calculation are you a 'poor' farmer? Its a relative term, just wonder who you're measuring yourself against? I agree TB needs to be erradicated, but until you have convincing, unequivocal proof that badgers are solely responsible, I don't think you'll get much sympathy or votes on here.
This is so so wrong more studies need to be done
Make a change from horse on the menu.