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Confirmed: West Somerset badger cull to go ahead this summer
A CONTROVERSIAL badger cull designed to tackle bovine TB will go ahead as early as June 1 in West Somerset, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson confirmed today (February 27).
Mr Paterson told the National Farmers Union (NFU) annual conference that authorisation letters have been issued by Natural England for the pilot zones in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.
He also announced that a reserve pilot will be prepared in Dorset if one of the proposed areas cannot be used, to ensure there are no delays to the cull.
Mr Paterson said: “Bovine TB is spreading at an alarming rate and causing real devastation to our beef and dairy industry. This confirmation is an important step towards taking the action we need to tackle the spread of this disease in wildlife.
“I am determined that there are no further delays this year. That is why we have taken the sensible step with the farming industry to elect a reserve area that can be called upon should anything happen to prevent culling in Somerset or Gloucester.
“These pilot culls are just one part of our approach to control and eradicate this dreadful disease. We are using everything at our disposal to get to grips with TB including new tougher controls on moving cattle, increased herd testing and working to get effective vaccines ready as soon as possible.”