1. ITV Report

Dorset farmer frustrated over TB delays

Paul Gould says Dorset was ready for the cull and is mystified as to why the Government changed its mind Photo:

Paul Gould, the chairman of the Dorset branch of the National Farmers' Union, has support from several other farmers to run a pilot cull in the county.

They were ready to go until ministers made a last minute decision last month not to extend the trials. Seven weeks on, Mr Gould still doesn't understand why.

What has happened, is it coalition politics that has got in the way, what has happened? Everything appeared to be in place for the wider roll-out and we got nothing and still we got all the restrictions and the testing regime and everything else. Everything seems to be lumped on us and the Government are perhaps trying to do their part but on the ground we see absolutely nothing at all.

– PAUL GOULD, Chairman, Dorset NFU
The trial badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire were due to be extended to Dorset but the Government changed its mind Credit: PA

A quarter of Mr Gould’s herd was slaughtered last month after the animals tested positive for TB. It is a closed herd - no cattle have been brought in from other farms for more than fifty years. Mr Gould concludes that wildlife brought TB to the farm.

A way must be found to control the population of badgers, it has got far too great. We are not on about destroying the whole lot, no way. We just want to get the population down to a sensible level like it was in the 1960s and hopefully then we will have healthy badgers and healthy cattle.

– PAUL GOULD, Chairman, Dorset NFU
A quarter of Paul Gould's herd had to be slaughtered recently after testing positive for TB Credit: ITV News West Country

Pilot culls of badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire last year failed to meet targets. The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson says techniques need to be improved before the culls are extended to new areas.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson says improvements need to be made before the culls are extended Credit: PA

Mr Paterson told Parliament:

We know that there are many farming communities in other parts of England that want badger culls to help combat TB. I hope they will understand that we need to put these changes into practice before we roll out the culling programme to other areas.

– OWEN PATERSON MP, Environment Secretary

His junior minister and the MP for North Cornwall, Dan Rogerson has been defending the decision at the Bath and West Show.

DEFRA Minister Dan Rogerson at the Royal Bath and West Show earlier today Credit: ITV News West Country

In the future, when we have learned the lessons from the pilot cull ares then other areas can come forward with bids. But right now we are focusing getting it right in those two areas where people are focusing to tackle the disease.


You can see Duncan Sleightholme's full report below.