Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has defended the badger cull, saying it is necessary to use "every tool in the box" to tackle the spread of bovine TB.
We know that, despite the strict controls we already have in place, we won't get on top of this terrible disease until we start dealing with the infection in badgers as well as in cattle. That's the clear lesson from Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland and the USA.
That is why these pilot culls are so important. We have to use every tool in the box because TB is so difficult to eradicate and it is spreading rapidly.
If we had a workable vaccine we would use it. A badger vaccine would have no effect on the high proportion of sick badgers in TB hotspots who would continue to spread the disease.
We are working on new badger and cattle vaccines but they are years away from being ready and we cannot afford to wait while TB gets worse.
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