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Badger cull has crossed over into Shropshire, campaigners say

By Lucy Todman | Farming | Published:

Badgers are being killed within the Shropshire border, despite the county not being chosen for the cull, campaigners claimed today.

A cull of badgers, taking place on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border, has got underway.

The government-led initiative could see thousands of badgers culled in a bid to preventing the spread of bovine TB.

The Staffordshire/Shropshire cull is taking place on land stretching from Grindley Brook and Norton in Hales, to Newport and Weston Park. The A41 is creating a 'natural boundary'.

Tris Pearce, director and Trustee at Shropshire Badger Trust said he thought people should be aware that the cull was taking place in Shropshire.

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"I want to let everyone know there is a badger cull in Shropshire," he said. "It covers the north east of the county and forms about 18-20 per cent of the Staffordshire zone.

"We anticipate that around 600-800 badgers will be killed in Shropshire at a cost of around £1 million.

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"Bear in mind this money is being spent when we have a desperate situation with the NHS, particularly here in Shropshire. For them to go and spend this money killing badgers is just wrong on every level. There is no one that can really stand up and say this is just way to do things. We have all be kept in the dark with this whole thing.

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"From the end of August, it has been possible to cage trap a badger, and this can continue until the end of November. It will be possible to shoot badgers until January 31. People really need to know this. A big chunk of the county is involved in this practice. And it seems to me that people do not know if this is going on."

The government gave permission last month for 11 new badger culls to go ahead across England, despite widespread opposition by wildlife groups. A fall in TB cases in two areas has been cited as a sign of progress in the fight to eradicate the cattle-killing disease.

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As well as being culled in Staffordshire/Shropshire. they are being killed in Cumbria, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, Herefordshire, Cheshire and Wiltshire.

Campaigners say the new licences could see over 40,000 badgers killed by the end of 2018, more than during the last five years of the badger cull combined.

The farming minister George Eustice claimed the cull is starting to show results in Gloucestershire and Somerset, with drops in tuberculosis incidence. But he did not address a rise seen in Dorset.

Each cull area is set a minimum and maximum number of badgers to be shot. This is to ensure the animals are not wiped out locally, while still killing enough to be effective.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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