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Devon MP calls for Caffe Nero to show some "muscle"

Caffe Nero have stopped buying milk from dairy farmers in the badger cull zone Credit: Dave Thompson/PA

A Devon MP is calling on Caffe Nero not to give in to threats from animal rights activists over the badger cull.

The chain has stopped buying milk from dairy farmers in the badger cull zone in Somerset following threats to employees and property. Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish, warns that giving in could encourage more intimidation in future.

These farmers have had a real struggle to rid themselves of TB and it's part of government policy and they should not be targeted in this way. And I just want Caffe Nero to show some muscle - to actually stand up to people rather than cave in.

– Neil Parish MP, Conservative, Tiverton and Honiton

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.

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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

Campaigners meet Environment Secretary to challenge badger cull

Members of the Badger Trust spoke to Liz Truss in her London office Credit: ITV News

Campaigners fighting to stop the badgers culls in Somerset say they've had a 'constructive' meeting with the Environment Secretary.

Members of the Badger Trust spoke to Liz Truss in her London office, claiming the culls are both costly and ineffective in halting the spread of TB in cattle.

Afterwards they said she had agreed to consider various points about animal welfare and vaccination.

Dominic Dyer, Chief Executive Badger Trust Credit: ITV News

She said the chief veterinary officer still continues to advise her that it is a tool that needs to be used. She made no commitment on extension of the culls at this stage even though we did agree if there were any steps to go forward they'd have to go through proper licencing and consultation processes. She did accept that cattle measures are important, she did accept badger vaccination has a valuable roll to play as well which is a step forward from her predecessor Owen Patterson.

– Dominic Dyer, Chief Executive, Badger Trust

Badger cull could be extended under Conservative government

Badger culling could be extended Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Badger culling could be extended to more areas where TB is rife in cattle if the Conservatives win the general election.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss made the announcement at the NFU annual conference, saying the party will continue with its 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease, which includes rolling-out the cull.

Campaigners have reacted angrily, calling it a cruel and ineffective strategy in combating the disease.

NFU calls for badger culls to be introduced to Devon & Cornwall

The NFU calls for a badger cull to be introduced to Devon & Cornwall Credit: PA

The National Farmers Union has called for a badger cull to be introduced in Devon and Cornwall to halt the spread of Bovine TB.

It comes as the government outlined its determination to press ahead with the policy after recent culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

274 of the animals were culled in Gloucestershire, falling far short of the amount needed to cut the disease in livestock. In West Somerset, 341 were shot - that's slightly above the minimum target.

In both of the pilot areas, a significant proportion were killed by the more expensive cage trapping and shooting method, rather than "controlled shooting" of free-running badgers - leading anti-cull protestors to argue that the cull was unsucessful. Dominic Dyer from the Badger Trust says that , as a free-shooting trial, the cull has failed.

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New plans to combat bovine TB will include culling

New plans to combat bovine TB will include the culling of badgers Credit: PA

Further measures to combat bovine TB have been revealed following the announcement of the results of the second year of badger culls.

An action plan for farmers sets out plans to help reduce the risk of disease spread on their farms. There will be a new service giving farmers within the badger cull areas bespoke veterinary advice on TB management.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss says the new approach will continue to include culling.

During the last parliament bovine TB rates in England soared to the highest in Europe. That is why we taking strong action in pursuing our comprehensive strategy, including tighter cattle movement controls, vaccinations and culling.

The Chief Vet’s advice is that results of this year’s cull in Somerset show they can be effective. That is why I am determined to continue with a comprehensive Strategy that includes culling.

– Elizabeth Truss, Environment Seceretary

There are also plans for a consultation on tougher measures for transporting cattle. An online map will show high and low risk areas. The Government has awarded £50,000 in small grants to livestock markets to help them introduce checking systems.

Independently audited results of the badger culls show cull figures for the year, and says that levels of humaneness and a high standard of public safety were maintained. In Somerset 341 badgers were removed - exceeding the minimum target.

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The cost of last year's badger cull is revealed

Each badger killed during the culls cost more than £3,000 Credit: PA

It's been revealed that last year's badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire cost taxpayers an average of £3,350 for every animal killed.

1,879 animals were killed in the pilot culls - 955 badgers in Somerset and 924 in Gloucestershire. The cullings are aimed at stopping the spread of TB in cattle and cost a total of almost £6.3 million according the Government figures.

DEFRA says the costs were high because of the need to monitor the operation for safety and humaneness.

Decision expected on Badger Trust appeal

The pilot cull of badgers has been taking place to help curb the spread of TB in cattle Credit: PA

Opponents of the badger culls will find out today if their latest legal challenge has been successful.

The Badger Trust is appealing against an earlier ruling that culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire could go ahead without independent monitors.

The trust argues this breaches a government promise.

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