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Badger Trust Demands TB Fraud Answers

11 April 2011

UK - Defra’s sudden, massive and expensive response to the scandal of farmers switching ear tags to foil bovine tuberculosis (bTB) controls suggests these crimes are widespread rather than local, says the Badger Trust, who has written to parliament demanding that planned badger culls in England and Wales are abandoned in light of allegations of fraud concerning bovine TB reactors.

The letter urges Mr Cameron to ‘advise Defra to abandon its ill-conceived plans to cull badgers’ in light of scientific evidence culling won’t work and ‘the appalling revelations of fraudulent practices by some farmers’.

It urges Mr Cameron to concentrate limited resources instead on fully implementing and enforcing cattle measures recommended by the Independent Scientific Group on bTB.

he Badger Trust tells Mr Cameron it was ‘most concerned to learn that some farmers have been deliberately flouting cattle TB regulations and fraudulently claiming more compensation than they were entitled to at the taxpayers’ expense’.

“These fraudulent activities have risked increasing the incidence of bovine TB on both affected and other farms,” then letter says.

“How can your Government possibly trust farmers to carry out a badger cull, when a significant number of farmers clearly have no regard for the existing rules on TB prevention?”

In a separate letter to Mrs Spelman and Mr Paice, the Badger Trust calls on Defra to ‘strictly enforce measures to outlaw such harmful practices’. “In the meantime, it must be appropriate to abandon all consideration of a badger cull,” it adds.

The letter poses a number of questions to Defra Ministers about the nature and scale of the alleged fraud and what the Department is doing to investigate further and to stamp it out.

Cattle industry leaders have expressed concern that the emergence of this evidence could make it harder to justify a badger cull.

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