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  1. ITV Report

Badger cull licence extended into Cumbria

Cumbria has been added to the list of areas where controversial badger culling has been approved. Photo: PA

Cumbria has been added to the list of areas where controversial badger culling has been approved.

Deputy Secretary Michael Gove gave the go ahead to expand the number of cull licences to thirty one.

The Wildlife Trusts say the government’s strategy for minimising the badger population through selective slaughtering is flawed. Bovine TB, the disease badgers can carry, is primarily found in cattle. They say culling is “counterproductive” and not the answer.

Credit: PA

Over the past decade the Wildlife Trusts have opposed badger culling. Recently they wrote to Michael Gove, Secretary of State, to draw attention to the negative impact of culling.

The Badger Trust say if the government wants to reduce the spread of TB, they should stop the "cruel, ineffective and hugely costly badger cull and introduce a publicly funded national badger vaccination programme".

We’re calling on the government to invest in medicine, not marksmen. The costs of killing badgers are much higher than vaccinating them – it costs £496.51 to kill a badger compared with £82 to vaccinate a badger.”

– ELLIE BRODIE, SENIOR POLICY MANAGER, THE WILDLIFE TRUSTS

Along with 6 monthly cattle testing, movement restrictions and good biosecurity on farms this approach offers the best opportunity to deal quickly with this real and serious threat in the Low Risk Area"

– GEORGE EUSTICE, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS