Planned badger cull is delayed

The Government has confirmed it is to delay two badger cull pilot schemes to tackle TB in cattle until next summer, claiming it is at the request of the National Farmer's Union.

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Brian May: 'We're delighted badgers have had a reprieve'

Queen guitarist Brian May has campaigned against the Government's planned badger cull.

He has told The Guardian:

We're delighted the badgers have had a reprieve.

It's by no means the end of the line. What we need is a complete abandonment of this plan to cull badgers.

I have firm hopes we will move from postponement to cancellation, and a wholehearted commitment from government to a policy of vaccination.

– Brian May

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NFU president explains why cull delay was necessary

In his letter to the Environment Secretary, National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall said the cull had been delayed to autumn this year by the need to focus policing resources on the Olympics.

Due to the lateness in the year, the news that there are more badgers in the pilot cull areas than previously estimated, and the recent "appalling" weather, the industry had taken the decision to put back the cull until next year.

The industry is saying we need to do this, but we must get it right. The weather has been appalling and we've learnt the numbers are higher than anticipated.

This is a responsible decision by the farming industry to make sure we get this right.

– National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall

Paterson: Still utterly convinced badger control is right

The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has announced that the planned badger culls will be delayed until next year.

He told the Commons he had received a letter from the National Farmers' Union explaining why the pilot culls could not go ahead this year and requesting a postponement.

Mr Patterson said he respected the decision and in these circumstances it is the "right thing to do" but he insisted that the government is "absolutely committed" to the policy.

"I am utterly convinced that badger control is the right thing to do", he said.

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RSPCA: 'This is good news for badgers'

The RSPCA, which has campaigned against the cull, welcomed news of an expected delay to badger cull plans but said it must be more than a temporary reprieve.

The animal welfare charity's chief executive Gavin Grant said:

This is good news for badgers, cows, dairy farmers and animal-lovers alike.

Hopefully, it marks the beginning of the end for these unscientific, foolish and cruel plans to cull badgers.

We welcome this postponement, but this must not be a temporary reprieve, but must mark an end to all cull plans.

Science, the public and MPs from all parties had said very clearly that a cull is no answer to bovine TB.

Leading scientists warned cull would not tackle TB

Leading scientists recently urged the Government to reconsider controversial plans for a badger cull to tackle bovine tuberculosis.

More than 30 animal disease experts, including the president of the Zoological Society of London and professors from Oxbridge and Imperial College London, wrote a letter in the Observer arguing culling badgers could increase the problem of TB in cattle

We recognise the importance of eradicating bovine TB and agree that this will require tackling the disease in badgers. Unfortunately, culling badgers as planned is very unlikely to contribute to TB eradication. We therefore urge the government to reconsider its strategy.

– Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, Royal Society from the University of Cambridge
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