Minister told badger cull roll out should be faster

Pic: James Hardisty (JH1009/18a)
Pic: James Hardisty (JH1009/18a)
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MINISTERS HAVE been urged to show “political bravery” to deliver a faster roll out of the contentious badger culls, as it published new advice to help farmers protect herds from bovine tuberculosis.

Despite opposition from animal welfare groups, more culls designed to stem the spread of the disease through wildlife started in three ‘High Risk’ areas - Dorset, Somerset and Gloucestershire - at the start of September.

The inclusion of Dorset as a cull area was a first following pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire in 2013 and 2014.

Speaking at the Northern Farming Conference, Farming Minister George Eustice said: “We have got a clear strategy to eradicate TB and are doing and are willing to do difficult, sometimes contentious, unpopular things such as implementing the badger cull and we have had a cautious roll out this year.”

But Guy Smith, vice-president of the National Farmers’ Union, said: “It’s important that when it comes to rolling out the badger cull that we are going to need some political bravery here. We have got to see this rolled out faster in the future if we’re going to get on top of this disease.”

As part of a cross-industry campaign, all advice on bovine TB from government, farming experts, leading vets and agricultural colleges is now available from one single website - www.TBhub.co.uk

To mitigate infection risks, the campaign’s Bovine TB Biosecurity Five Point Plan advises: restrict contact between badgers and cattle; manage cattle feed and water; stop infected cattle entering the herd; reduce risk from neighbouring herds, and minimise infection from cattle manure.