Dismay and delight at badger cull delay

Plans to delay controversial proposals to cull badgers to tackle tuberculosis in cattle have been greeted with a mixed reaction from farmers and wildlife bosses in Shropshire.

Dismay and delight at badger cull delay

In a statement to MPs yesterday, Environment Secretary and Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said badger culling had originally been delayed by the Olympic Games, legal proceedings and bad weather.

As a result, he said farmers could not be confident they could cull enough badgers this year and two pilot culls that were due to start imminently will now take place next summer.

Those in support of the delay have questioned the effectiveness of the planned cull in the first place.

But those against it say it will be a blow to farmers who are desperate for a solution to prevent TB in their cows.

Shropshire councillor Paul Wynn, who owns 160 heifers near Whitchurch, said: "I am disappointed. I thought it was a good idea to trial it."

But Shropshire Wildlife Trust has welcomed the Government's decision.

Helen Trotman, people and wildlife manager for the trust, who has been pioneering a badger vaccination scheme, said: "Shropshire Wildlife Trust has always argued for a disease strategy based on good science. This ingredient was clearly lacking in the culling plan."

John Mercer, NFU regional director, said: "Farmers need to see an end to this disease and the decision to delay was not taken lightly. However, the pilots are still on track for next year."

Mr Paterson said the NFU had written to him requesting that the culls be postponed but insisted that the policy remained in place.

"I remain fully committed to working with the farming industry to ensure that pilot culls can be delivered effectively, safely and humanely next summer," he said.

See also:

  • Badger culling delay a blow, say NFU

  • Owen Paterson: Badger cull put on hold

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