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Somerset landowners overturn badger cull decision

Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

A group of landowners in West Somerset has successfully overturned a decision to allow badger culling closer to their property.

They have been vaccinating badgers on their land as an alternative to the cull.

Natural England was proposing to remove the buffer zone between them and the culling area, but has now backed down in the face of legal action.

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.

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.

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