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'Badger' flash mob protest against government cull plans

Members of the flash-mob perform outside Defra headquarters today
Members of the flash-mob perform outside Defra headquarters today Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

A badger-inspired flash mob performed outside the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in protest against a government-led cull of badgers.

Around fifty "badgers" performed to Queen guitarist Brian May's own version of The Badger Song, which was inspired by his band's hit song Flash. May is a vocal opponent to the cull.

DEFRA badger flash mob protest against cull
Protestors with their faces painted as badgers demonstrate against badger culling outside DEFRA Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The protesters are urging the Government to abandon "inhumane and impractical' plans to cull the animal to control bovine TB, in favour of using badger vaccinations.

Read more: Brian May calls badger cull go ahead 'very, very sad'

Badger cruelty prosecutions almost double in 5 years

Cruelty to badgers is increasing. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The number of people prosecuted for cruelty to badgers has almost doubled in five years, figures show.

In 2007, 30 people were prosecuted in magistrates courts under the Protection of Badgers Act and by 2011 that figure had risen to 58, the figures obtained through a parliamentary question reveal.

The number prosecuted for crimes such as badger baiting has increased each year with only a slight drop in 2010, to 48 from 50 in 2009, bucking the rising trend of cruelty cases.

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New badger TB vaccination inquiry launched

A new inquiry will be launched to examine the vaccination of badgers and cattle in relation to Bovine TB, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has said.

The inquiry is expected to cover the likely timescales and challenges in delivering vaccination programmes, their costs and efficacy, and whether a vaccination programme could be delivered without having a negative effect on UK exports.

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Badger cull study: 'no meaningful' effect on TB

When in power, Labour ruled out a cull of badgers in England after a study concluded it could make "no meaningful" contribution to addressing TB control in cattle.

  • The study looked at culling badgers over a 60 square mile area over four years, reducing the population by around 70%.
  • It found that culling reduced TB in cattle inside the cull area but it led badgers to move around, thereby increasing the disease in the areas adjacent to the cull.
  • Later results from the trial showed that, overall, the widespread, repeated culling of badgers could reduce the incidence of disease in cattle herds by up to 16% over a decade.
  • The method used to kill the badgers was to trap them and then shoot them, an expensive process which researchers calculated was not cost-effective.
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