Licensed Badger Cull To Go Ahead In England

ENGLAND, UK - Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, has announced plans to license groups of farmers and landowners to carry out science-led, strictly controlled culls of badgers in the areas worst affected by bovine tuberculosis (TB).
calendar icon 20 July 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The Bovine TB Eradication Programme for England sets out a comprehensive and balanced package of measures to tackle TB in cattle, badgers and other animals, including the Government’s view that it is strongly minded to allow a science-led cull of badgers in the worst affected areas.

Initially in the first year, the culling method would be piloted in two areas, to confirm the effectiveness and hamaneness of controlled shooting, overseen by an independent panel of scientific experts. If this is found to be effective, then and only then would this policy be rolled out more widely.

In the event of a decision to permit culling following the further discussion with stakeholders, any culling licences granted by Natural England would be subject to strict conditions, based on evidence from the RBCT, designed to ensure that culling results in an overall decrease in the disease in the areas where it takes place.

Applications for licences would only be considered for a cull area of at least 150 km2, and with culling to be carried out by groups of farmers over a minimum of four years.

Mrs Spelman said: “We already have a robust set of cattle controls in place, but we need to accept that in some parts of the country they just aren’t enough. Unless we tackle each and every transmission route, including from badgers to cattle, we are likely to see the situation deteriorate further.

Commenting on the announcement, National Farmers Union (NFU) President, Peter Kendall, expressed his relief on behalf of the farming industry.

Mr Kendall said: “I join with farmers up and down the country today in breathing an enormous sigh of relief that the Government has shown leadership in tackling this terrible disease. This has never been about eradicating badgers; this is about eradicating disease. Today is a massive step forward and I thank Defra and the Secretary of State for the painstaking work that has gone into making what has been, I’m sure, a very tough decision in the face of not inconsiderable opposition."

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