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Ministers deny U-turn over the badger cull

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 19, 2012

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Speculation is rife that the highly controversial cull of badgers in bovine TB hotspot areas may be called off or postponed at short notice, because of fast-rising costs.

Farmer groups have already been licensed to carry out pilot culls in West Somerset and in Gloucestershire – but a re-calculation of the number of badgers involved shows many more will need to be culled, putting up costs to farmers who are paying. Killing costs may have as much as doubled in the case of West Somerset.

Doubts about the culls were fuelled when Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Farming Minister David Heath cancelled a series of interviews yesterday, though a Government spokesman said: "There is no change to the policy. We want the culls to happen as soon as possible."

The test culls, which have caused widespread protests from animal organisations, will see all badgers killed over 70% of the cull areas. There are now an estimated 4,300 badgers in the West Somerset area, up from earlier calculations of 3,000. The six-week culls must be carried out before the badgers' breeding season begins in winter.

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  • E_Badger  |  October 19 2012, 1:39PM

    Who exactly is providing the figures for the "estimated numbers of badgers"? Natural England? The same Natural England that was using barbed wire DNA traps, but noted that some had been removed by persons unknown and then retorted that, to paraphrase "it wouldn't really matter"(?) Everyone should know by now that if Farmers do not agree to the cull through expense, then government hired hands will go in on their behalf perform the cull and bill them instead and I suspect that these inflated figures are in fact propaganda to back DEFRA and the NFU's claims for a badger "population explosion" across the south west in support of their cull proposals. So when exactly was the last time YOU saw a badger that wasn't dead at the side of the road? Are they everywhere as is being publicised, did one offer to clean the windscreen of your car recently [/sarc] Any publicised figures are always going to be ESTIMATED, the 70% killed is going to be estimated and I for one suspect the motive behind inflating these estimates.