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Commons to debate badger cull next week

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 17, 2012

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MPs will debate a planned badger cull for six hours next week after backbenchers appealed for time to examine the issue.

A cross-party delegation of MPs, supported by campaigners – including Queen guitarist Brian May – opposed to culling hundreds of badgers, won time for the debate in the main Commons chamber on Thursday.

A pilot cull of badgers is about to start in Gloucestershire and another will follow in West Somerset.

Labour MP Alison McGovern (Wirral South) led calls for the debate at the Backbench Business Committee.

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She told the committee: "I think it is vital Parliament is seen to be taking on board what has been a controversial and important issue in our national life.

"We think Parliament needs to take a view on the matter and Parliament needs to consider the issue fully."

Farmers say the cull is necessary to tackle rising rates of TB in cattle, as the wild animals can spread the disease to livestock, costing the industry and taxpayers millions of pounds a year.

Under the terms of licences issued for the two pilot culls in the South West, free-roaming badgers will be shot.

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