Cornish farmer calls for badger cull to widen

Cornish farm affected by TB Credit: ITV News West Country

Fifteen cows infected with Bovine TB have been sent to slaughter from a farm in mid-Cornwall. Fourteen of the animals were calves of just a few months old. Devastated farmer Mark Oliver is calling for the the culling of badgers widened.

"They go back to my mum and dad before me, and yes it's hard to put into words, they're our livelihoods, they're our business and you get attached to them. You are with them everyday, and just to see them taken and needlessly killed one after the other is devastating. If a badger has TB, vaccination will not cure that badger, it will continue to spread this disease. So sadly and unfortunately, because I love wildlife, but those diseased badgers have to be taken out, not only for the sake of cattle and for farmers, but also for the sake of the rest of the badger population and wider wildlife that they are spreading it to."

Pilot badger culls designed to limit the spread of TB in cattle were held in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset in 2013.

However, a leaked independent report commissioned by the government found that less than half the intended number of badgers were killed, and between 6 and 18% of badgers took longer than five minutes to die. That's led to calls for the government to reconsider its approach.

Cornwall Badger Rescue working with farmers to vaccinate badgers Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Bob Speechley of Cornwall Badger Rescue is already working with farmers to vaccinate badgers on their land.

"We can't just keep killing off all the wildlife, and we can't just keep killing off all the cattle. We've got to sort this problem out. It's hard on both the farmers and the nature lovers. We have to solve this problem, and the only way to do that is to push for the European market to let us vaccinate the cattle, vaccinate the badgers and any other measures that the scientists say will help with this problem."

"We need to eradicate this disease using every tool available. This includes the work being carried out on cattle and oral badger vaccinations but they are years away from being ready and we can't wait while the disease spreads."

It also confirmed no decision has yet been made on the roll out of badger cull licences into other South West counties.