Farmers to launch mass badger cull

UK - Farmers are preparing to restart badger culls across the country for the first time in almost a decade, it can be revealed.
calendar icon 7 May 2007
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The culls could start within weeks after the completion of a Government report into the role that badgers play in spreading the infectious disease bovine tuberculosis among cattle.

In the expectation of an imminent end to the moratorium on licences to kill badgers, farmers have earmarked areas of the country where the cull could begin, while the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is conducting four secret trials to find which is the most effective ways of killing badgers - snaring, trapping, shooting or gassing.

A move to permit culling, however, would be certain to provoke ferocious opposition from animal welfare groups, who insist it is not necessary and believe the spread of the disease is due to bad husbandry by farmers.

The Government research, by the Independent Scientific Group (ISG), began in 1998 and was accompanied by the moratorium on licences.

However, the final report, which ministers will receive later this month, is expected to acknowledge that culling badgers can be an effective means of controlling the disease. Defra officials have already indicated to industry figures that following its publication they would struggle to justify continuing the moratorium.

Source: The Telegraph
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