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Role of Government agency over badger cull questioned

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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A FARMING leader has questioned the role of Natural England in a delayed badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

NFU president Peter Kendall, speaking on the BBC Panorama programme this week, said badger figures released just before the cull was due to start would have led to its inevitable failure. He said the surprise estimates put the NFU and the companies set up to administer the cull in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset 'on the back foot'.

He questioned the role of Natural England, the agency given the task of issuing licences for the cull, in the failure of the policy to get off the ground this year.

"There is a view that there are some people who have not been as helpful as they could have been in delivering this policy," Mr Kendall told presenter Tom Heap.

Panorama quoted Natural England as saying it was "committed to working with all involved to implement Government policy".

Also on the programme, Defra Secretary Owen Paterson outlined his "complete determination" that the pilot culls will go ahead next year.

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  • badgerhugger  |  November 17 2012, 6:21PM

    Let's hope the next six months is spent developing the DIVA test, developing a vaccine and convincing the EU to accept vaccinated cattle. Better still stop cruel exporting, just vaccinate milking herds and keep beef for home use.

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  • OutofTownie  |  November 17 2012, 11:19AM

    The NFU will continue to lose credibility by coming across as desperate and paranoid - one minute they accuse the RSPCA of picking on them and the next it's Natural England. Both the RSPCA and Natural England have gone up in my estimation as a result.

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  • Mikethepike  |  November 16 2012, 4:48PM

    The public don't want the cull; the scientists are clear--the cull won't work and isn't the answer to bTB; and, what's more, the farmers--many of them bullied into taking part--don't like paying for anything up front. It is, after all, a rotten deal for them: it will cost more than it will save; it will enrage vast numbers of the public; it threatens worsening TB for farmers on the edge of cull areas; and with a time span of nine years before any of the "benefits" are realised it is obvious to everyone--except gung-ho Paterson--that nine years from now cattle vaccination should be a reality, Let's hope the decision to examine more closely vaccination, and the progress of the DIVA test, signals that even the Patersons of this world are seeking face-saving compromises. As for Peter Kendall's moan: he knows that Natural England are there to ensure the strict conditions of the licences have been met. Clearly the farmers weren't ready. It was a shambles. And if they do attempt next June to slaughter thousands of badgers it will be an even bigger shambles. It won't work. It is simply not possible to line up badgers at night and shoot them one by one.

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  • Clued-Up  |  November 15 2012, 7:12PM

    Peter Kendall should thank his lucky stars the badger cull WAS stopped at this stage, it would have been a disaster for the NFU if it had gone ahead. The public well understand the scientists' and animal disease health experts' explanations that a badger cull would do little to reduce cattle bTB and might even spread it. They accept the right way to reduce cattle bTB is through comprehensive, rigorously enforced cattle movement controls. There'd have been public outcry against the NFU's privileged access to government ministers as soon as the first YouTube video appeared showing a badger in agony after being shot.

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