The controversial badger cull in England has not been called off and will be rolled out across the country, including Shropshire, according to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.
The north Shropshire MP pledged to act to bring the spread of bovine TB under control once a second round of pilot culls have been carried out.
He spoke of his frustration at the delay to the roll out of the cull, which he said was necessary to combat the “devastating” impact of TB. Mr Paterson also said badger control had worked in places such as the Republic of Ireland.
He said the number of new cases of TB was doubling every nine years and said more than 32,000 cows were slaughtered across Britain last year.
It comes after the Government was accused of a U-turn earlier this year, when it decided not to extend the pilots in west Somerset and west Gloucestershire which started last autumn to the rest of England.
But Mr Paterson said: “This is not a postponement, it is a delay.
“I feel bitterly disappointed that we can not go any faster with this. We are delaying so that we can learn from the lessons of the pilots and move forward.
“I know the farmers in the TB affected areas of Market Drayton and Ellesmere and all down the Shropshire Marches are upset the culls have been delayed and I understand this.The importance of the situation for our cattle farmers, their families and their communities cannot be overstated.
“Only if we use every tool at our disposal, including culling, will we begin to check the progress of this devastating disease. We want to see healthy cattle living alongside healthy badgers.”Subscribe to our Newsletter