Badger Cull Put on Hold
Environment Secretary Owen Patterson has abandoned plans to roll out the controversial badger cull across England in light of a damning new report that criticises the current projects in the south west as being neither effective or humane. Aimed at curbing the spread of tuberculosis in cattle which has cost tax payers an estimated £500m in the past decade, the culls were condemned by some scientists before they had even started.
The latest report which claims that culls in both Somerset and Gloucestershire fell well short of the 70% target set by government has caused a rethink on the controversial policy. In Wales where a planned badger cull was replaced by stricter controls on cattle movements the number of cattle slaughtered dropped by almost 50% in 2013. It now appears Mr Patterson is looking at a vaccination programme as an alternative to badger culls telling the Guardian; “I am proposing a scheme for [badger] vaccination projects around the edge of the most badly affected parts of the country, in an attempt to create a buffer zone of TB immunity to stop the disease spreading further.”
Despite the recent critisism Mr Patterson also confirmed that culls would continue in the two pilot areas with a number of new measures introduced including better training for those involved. Last year approximately 1,800 badgers were killed in Somerset and Gloucestershire.