Anger over Countryfile’s badger report

COUNTRYFILE presenter Adam Henson annoyed the Badger Trust with an item on bovine TB last Sunday.

Members circulated BBC directors, MPs and the press, with a list of complaints amounting to accusations of bias and bad biosecurity.

Trust chairman David Williams said: “This shallow and amateurish item was unworthy of a national broadcaster. It failed to offer either adequate information or education, or to observe due impartiality. The behaviour shown was a lesson in how to risk bTB infection. Why did Mr Henson and a veterinary surgeon bring a strongly salivating cow, previously declared an inconclusive reactor, out of isolation to be tested with other cattle clearly visible nearby?”

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Liz Groves of Keighley, for the Craven Badger Trust, said: “I was close to apoplectic. If he is a sample of how farmers are dealing with bTB there is no wonder it has got so out of hand.”

A BBC spokesman said: “The TB test was carried out by a Government vet, who has reassured us that suitable precautions were in place to prevent the spread of infection. The production team and presenter followed strict bio-security measures which were filmed but not included in the final cut.

“Neither the programme, nor Adam Henson, implied or suggested that badgers were the sole source of infection or wholly responsible for its spread.”

The news comes as the Government continues to ponder whether or not to introduce a cull of badgers to stem the flow of the disease.

Defra had announced last year that it would allow farmers to shoot badgers on their land in so-called hotspot areas but since then the official legislation has been continually delayed after numerous objections were placed to ministers on the matter.