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Brian May: 'The cull doesn't work'

Queen guitarist Brian May at the mock funeral procession at Westminster. Credit: ITV News West Country

Campaigners against the badger cull say they're preparing a fresh legal challenge.

It came as rock star Brian May led a mock funeral procession at Westminster in memory of badgers already killed in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

The cull, which the government says is backed by leading vets, was recently extended to Dorset but Dr May said he was seeking a judicial review:

Queen guitarist Brian May to lead badger cull march

Queen guitarist Brian May ahead of a Wounded Badger Patrol in Gloucestershire in 2013. Credit: PA

Brian May will lead a march to oppose the planned Government badger cull later.

MPs will join the Queen guitarist at the event in London, which has been organised by Team Badger - a collective group of animal welfare charities.

Almost 2300 badgers were killed in the last cull, between 2013 to 2014.


Badger cull restarts across the South West

The government says Bovine TB costs taxpayers £100m each year Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

The government has announced that the Badger cull has officially restarted in Somerset and Gloucestershire - as well as in a new area in Dorset.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says Bovine TB costs taxpayers £100m each year and is a significant threat to the future of our beef and dairy industries.

But protesters argue that the culls are ineffective.

It costs nearly £6,800 to cull one badger

Credit: Wild Stock

The cost of culling badgers to tackle TB in cattle in Gloucestershire and Somerset is more than previously thought.

It costs £6,775 to kill one badger. This is nearly £600 more than predicted by the anti-cull Badger Trust, who made a Freedom of Information request that led to the real figures being released by the Environment Department (DEFRA).

The overall cost of the cull is almost £16.8 million.

A DEFRA spokesman says bovine TB has cost £500 million over the last decade.

The government has recently approved extending the cull to Dorset.

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.


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.

Caffe Nero says badger cull milk boycott is about staff safety

The badger cull is strongly supported by farmers but controversial among animal rights activists. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Caffe Nero has defended its boycott of milk from badger cull areas as necessary to protect its staff.

In a statement the coffee chain insisted it was not bowing to intimidation, but that it had to act when staff well-being was threatened.

With just 2% of our annual milk supply impacted, we made what we feel was the right choice ... We are not intimidated by protestors in spite of their ongoing and upsetting efforts to threaten our business. At the end of the day, we know that the authorities will support us if needed. However, we made a decision to limit any risk to our people as quickly as possible.

– Caffe Nero statement

Animal rights activists told Caffe Nero they would protest if the coffee chain continued to use milk from badger cull areas.

Dairy farmers in Gloucestershire and Somerset have criticised activists for their tactics, and talked of boycotting the coffee chain for its decision. Caffe Nero says it has discussed its reasons with the National Farmers' Union.

West Country MP criticises Caffe Nero's badger cull stance

The badger cull is strongly supported by farmers but controversial among animal rights activists. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A West Country MP is criticising Caffe Nero's decision to stop using milk that has come from farms in badger cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

With two big milk producers in his constituency Ian Liddell-Grainger says the coffee shop's decision will put jobs at risk.

Caffe Nero took the move after anti-cull protesters threatened to boycott the cafe unless the company refused to the use the milk.

I have a lot of farmers in my constituency. I have superb dairymen, superb cattle, wonderful milk. Don't boycott British milk to put British jobs at risk because you've got some petty vendetta. Get a job, grow up and stop annoying the police."

– Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater & West Somerset
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