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Delayed badger cull may be in different areas

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 04, 2013

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The postponed badger cull could mean two pilot schemes are moved to alternative destinations, a Government minister has said.

West Somerset and West Gloucestershire had been areas licensed by ministers to carry out culling to tackle tuberculosis in cattle, which is spread by badgers and is rife in the South West.

The pilots, due to start last November, were delayed by a year, after the National Farmers' Union (NFU) – which is organising the plan – said there were more badgers in the area than expected, leading to fears culls would be unsuccessful.

Farming Minister David Heath yesterday told ITV Westcountry the delay may lead to different areas being chosen instead. He said: "Whether that (the application to cull) will be in the same areas, it very possibly could be, or whether that will be in different areas, that will be for them (the NFU) to decide in due course.

"We will wait to hear from the NFU and the farmers involved as to whether they want to stick to their original plans or want to change them – that's their decision."

The NFU has said all options remain open for potential sites, with a cull unlikely to take place until the autumn. It opens the possibility of marksmen being deployed to kill free-running badgers in Devon and Cornwall, where farmers have seen their herds devastated at the hands of the disease.

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  • bazzz6  |  January 05 2013, 12:31AM

    Delayed? Its already been done - loads of marksmen shooting the other evening north of Wimbleball

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  • badgerhugger  |  January 04 2013, 7:06PM

    Why is a national issue decided by the NFU anyway. I don't see the Government handing responsibility to other unions, or co-operating with them in any way. Ever. What we need is more publicity about cattle vaccination, improved husbandry, the minimal dangers of bTB, improved biosecurity, improvement of testing methods, and pressure on EU rulings. Why not fight to allow some farms to sell milk and beef only within the home market? They could then vaccinate their herds and sod the EU.

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  • Jude177  |  January 04 2013, 4:18PM

    Beware Devon! "All smoke and mirrors...the Government don't want to admit that bTB figures declining without a badger cull (slaughter) , the continuing success of the badger vaccination programme in Wales and now in England, the improvements as a result of new EU bTB cattle measures and thankfully an increased awareness in the farming community of the importance of improved animal welfare and husbandry and bio-security measures in raising immunity in cattle and early detection. Added to this the overwhelming public opposition to an unnecessary and counter-productive slaughter of our wildlife and impact on tourism plus policing costs...the omnishambles coalition and the hitleresque stance of messrs Pattison ("I'm in charge") and Heath just need an exit strategy and face-saving-here's one-YOU ARE WRONG and the cull won't go ahead-JudeW"

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