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Government pushing forward with badger cull

13 March 2012

The Government has announced plans to allow culling in England (and possibly Wales) to curb cattle TB which costs the UK £100m per year.

Killing badgers is prohibited under the UK Protection of Badgers Act, with exceptions allowed for disease prevention. The biggest scientific investigation of culling, the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT), concluded culling can reduce incidence of TB in farm herds provided it is done in large areas with a large proportion of badgers being killed virtually simultaneously, and that it is sustained for at least four years.

By contrast, the government will allow the much cheaper option of “free-shooting” by trained marksmen across a six-week period.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will allow two pilot culls this year in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset. MPs have criticised Defra for ignoring scientific advice.

Controversy about the proposed cull and the methods to use will no doubt continue to rage due to the competing interests at play.

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