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Badger cull protest

Badger cull protest Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Animal activists against the badger cull proposed by the government for this autumn took to the streets of Nottingham today (September 27) to protest.

The government is proposing to cull badgers in an attempt to reduce the spread of Bovine TB, which is a major problem for UK farmers.

Bovine TB is a strain of tuberculosis, an infectious disease usually affecting the lungs. It can be spread between cattle and other animals.

Although the culls will take place in two pilot areas, Somerset and Gloucestershire, the results from these trials will determine whether or not the culling scheme is rolled out to TB hotspots nationwide.

Nottingham Animal Rights are against badger culling because they say:

  • It is unethical. They say that the government scheme is "a harrowing violation of the badger's right to life" and that the planned shootings are inhumane and will lead to some maimings, rather than instant death.
  • It is unscientific. They claim previous studies costing millions of pounds have shown that badger culling is not the best way to control the spread of bovine TB.
  • It is unrepresentative. In recent surveys members of the public have indicated their opposition to the plans and Queen star Brian May's e-petition has received over 120,000 signatures.

Nottingham campaigners say:

The government is once again doggedly sticking to a policy of animal cruelty with a flagrant disregard for overwhelming public opinion, making a mockery of our democracy"

– Nottingham Animal Rights

The National Farmers' Union, which represents UK farmers say that Bovine TB is spiralling out of control. They say:

  • Last year 34,183 cattle were culled due to TB, five times the number in 1998.
  • The disease has cost taxpayers £500m during the last decade as well as the farming families who lose their livelihoods when their cattle are killed.
  • The government's plans also include tighter cattle controls, badger vaccination and is limited initially to two pilot areas.

Farmers say:

"The worst thing was that cows very close to calving had to be shot on the farm. We could see the calves kicking inside as they died"

– UK farmer

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