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Badger cull to be extended to Dorset

The government has announced there is to be a badger cull in Dorset this year. Credit: Ben Birchall / PA Wire

The South West's controversial badger cull is to be extended to Dorset.

Several farmers had applied for a licence to kill the animals, which are thought to infect cattle with bovine TB.

The government says extending the cull is part of a long-term strategy to beat the disease - but protestors argue that existing culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire (which are to be repeated this year) are ineffective and fail to meet their targets.

“England has the highest incidence of TB in Europe and that is why we are taking strong action to deliver our 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the future of our dairy and beef industries.

“This includes strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, vaccinating badgers in the buffer zone around high-risk areas, and culling badgers where the disease is rife.

“Our approach of dealing with the disease in cattle and wildlife has worked overseas and is supported by leading vets.”

– Farming Minister George Eustice

A wildlife charity which is strongly against the cull has recently awarded a grant to a badger vaccination programme in Dorset.

Brian May taking part in an anti-badger-cull protest in Bristol. Credit: PA

Earlier this week an animal welfare charity - founded by Queen guitarist Brian May - threatened legal action if the badger cull goes ahead for a third year.

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Dairy farmers feel "completely undermined" by supermarkets

Farmers from across the region will be heading to Somerset later to take part in a national protest about milk prices.

It's follows protests in supermarkets across the region this week.

They say they'll be targeting sites in Bridgwater and Yeovil in a demonstration against the price supermarkets pay them for every pint.

Dairy farmers like James Badman argue that the falling prices mean they have no other option but to take peaceful action.

Do you agree with the action they're taking? Have your say on our Facebookpage.

Dorset Wildlife Trust 'disappointed' by badger cull application

The Wildlife Conservation Charity has been carrying out a badger vaccination programme. Credit: Wild Stock

Dorset Wildlife Trust have expressed their disappointed about applications submitted to Natural England to cull badgers later this year.

They work to actively support and promote alternative solutions to badger culling in order to control the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis.

Now in its third year, the wildlife conservation charity has been carrying out a badger vaccination programme in West and North Dorset.

Dorset Wildlife Trust is extremely sympathetic to the farmers whose cattle are affected by this devastating disease, but we urge the Government to consider the scientific evidence which indicates that the cull will not reduce Bovine Tuberculosis in cattle.

The problem could even be made worse as increasing the movement of potentially infected badgers into an area cleared of badgers could risk contact between them and uninfected cattle.

– Chief Executive, Dr Simon Cripps

Dorset badger cull application submitted to Natural England

Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

An application to cull badgers in Dorset has been submitted to Natural England.

A number of farmers hope to obtain a licence to kill the animals, which are thought to infect cattle with Bovine TB.

Similar culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire proved controversial, and failed to meet their targets.

Earlier this week, volunteers in the county were given a grant by a wildlife charity to continue their programme of vaccinating badgers against the disease.

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Anti-badger-cull charity awards money to vaccinating volunteers

The Dorset Badger Vaccination Project is free to farmers. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Badgers will continue to be vaccinated against TB in Dorset, after volunteers were given a grant by a wildlife charity to carry on.

The Dorset Badger Vaccination Project offers a free service to farmers and landowners. Last year they vaccinated more than 80 badgers across the county. The volunteers say they would not be able to continue their work after 2015 without the money from the International Fund For Animal Welfare.

The IFAW is "strongly opposed" to the government's badger cull, and sees vaccination as a humane alternative.

The volunteers say a growing number of farmers are approaching them about their services.

Does this record-breaking emoji put a smile on your face?

Emoji’s first known use was in 1997 but it joined the dictionary in May. Credit: Fanclub PR

Two gigantic smiley face emojis have cropped up in the fields of Bath and Chippenham overnight.

They're both part of a record-breaking campaign by a mobile phone company which they say wanted "to help the nation wake up with a smile on its face."

The advertising stunt involved a 100 foot happy face crop circle being made in a field and another painted by local artists near Bath station.

The first smiley face to appear was in a wheat and barley field near Chippenham.

The second involved a team of twenty-five artists who worked through the night to give commuters on train lines near Bath a smile this morning.

An emoji refers to any small images, symbols, or icons used when texting. Credit: Fanclub PR
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