May leads anti-badger cull walk

Queen guitarist Brian May has joined dozens of anti-badger cull protesters on a night walk through one of the controversial pilot areas. The culling in Gloucestershire and Somerset aims to tackle tuberculosis in cattle by killing 5,000 badgers.

Latest ITV News reports

Advertisement

Badger cull will 'cost more than it saves'

The Shadow Environment Secretary has said that the badger cull will cost more money than it saves.

Mary Creagh said: "Bovine TB is a terrible disease, but culling badgers is not the way to tackle it.

"The government's own impact assessment shows that culling badgers will cost more than it saves because of the divisive costs of the policing and we know that culling badgers spreads bovine TB in the short term."

Read more: Policing costs greater than farmers' bill for badger cull

Policing costs greater than farmers' bill for badger cull

The costs of carrying out the culling are being borne by the farmers. Cage trapping and shooting would cost £2,500 per square kilometre per year, and shooting free-running badgers would cost £300 per square kilometre per year.

The Environment Department estimates culling will cost farmers an average of £1,000 per square kilometre per year, which for the west Gloucestershire cull would come to £1.2 million over the four-year period and in west Somerset would be £1 million.

The monitoring, licensing and policing costs will be met by the taxpayer and come to £3.2 million for each pilot area. The policing costs alone are expected to be in the region of £2 million for each pilot cull.

Advertisement

RSPCA will monitor badger cull to ensure it is humane

The RSPCA has condemned the badger cull and said it will be monitoring the humaneness of the cull by examining any wounded badgers brought in, and called on the Government to be more transparent about how it was assessing whether the culling was humane.

RSPCA will monitor badger cull to ensure it is humane.
RSPCA will monitor badger cull to ensure it is humane. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

The wildlife charity said it was expecting high numbers of calls about badgers during the six-week culling period. It has set up a dedicated emergency line for calls about badgers and readied staff to cope with an increase in badger admissions.

Badger cull marks 'dark day for Britain'

The Humane Society International UK's executive director and vet Mark Jones said:

This is a dark day for Britain as science and ethics have been sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.

Thousands of innocent badgers will now suffer and die in a completely unjustified slaughter that will at best have a marginal impact on TB in cattle and could very well make the problem worse.

This cull isn't just about badgers, it's about the disgraceful way in which our government has cast aside scientific rigour, moral accountability and transparency to pacify those who would rather shoot wildlife than modernise the cattle industry.

West Country (E)

'Badger cull is not the solution to bovine TB'

We are very conscious of the hardship that bTB causes our farming community. However science clearly shows that a badger cull is not the solution to bTB and, in fact, the shooting of badgers could make the problem worse here in Somerset.

This cull is a distraction and gets in the way of implementing the right mechanisms to control this disease through improved bio-security and the roll out of cattle and badger vaccines ­ a view shared by many landowners here in Somerset.”

– Simon Nash, Chief Executive, Somerset Wildlife Trust
West Country (W)

Badgers to be 'shot instead of trapped' before culling

A cull of 70% of badgers over six weeks in the West Country will start on Tuesday in Somerset. It is expected to begin in Gloucestershire later in the week.

Here is what to expect from the move:

  • Badgers will be shot in the wild instead of being trapped before culling.
  • Pilot culls will see the killing of 70% of badgers in each area, which could mean the culling of 5,000 animals.
  • The government spent £90m on TB control in England during 2010-11, including £6.9m on research and development.
  • Surveys in the 1980s and 1990s suggested there are between 250,000 and 300,000 badgers in Britain.
  • Defra estimates that the cull – across a 150km2 area during the summer for the next four years – will lead to a 16% cut in bovine TB.
Load more updates