Protestors brand plans to extend cull in Somerset as "ludicrous"

This is The West Country: BADGER Cull protestors took their campaign onto the streets earlier this year. PHOTO: Archive. BADGER Cull protestors took their campaign onto the streets earlier this year. PHOTO: Archive.

OPPONENTS of the controversial badger cull in parts of West Somerset and Taunton Deane have branded the reasons behind plans to extend it as “ludicrous”.

It was announced this week that the cull could be extended by three weeks as the number of badgers shot was just over 40% of the initial target.

Environment Minister Owen Paterson confirmed in the House of Commons yesterday that just 850 badgers had been shot in the area over the initial six-week culling period, which ended on Sunday.

The initial target was to shoot 2,081 and now DEFRA sources say population estimates taken in 2012 are inaccurate.

They now estimate that there are 1,450 badgers living in West Somerset and that 1,015 badgers would need to be killed in total to meet the 70% target.

A spokesman for Stop the Cull told the County Gazette that reasons given for the decline in the number of badgers living in West Somerset were “stupid”.

He said: “It has come as a shock there are plans to extend the cull and the idea that the badger population has decreased by 50% is ludicrous.

“They used hair traps to get their information on badger numbers but Stop the Cull has been removing them so there wouldn’t have been a proper indication.

“One of the reasons they gave for the decline is flooding but we aren’t aware of any and if you ask residents I’m sure they will tell you the same.”

In his ministerial statement, Mr Paterson said he believed that the badger control pilot operations were carried out safely, effectively and humanely.

He said a decision was yet to be taken, believed to be by the end of this week, on the application to extend the licence in Somerset.

NFU president Peter Kendall told the Gazette: “I understand that the company carrying out the cull in Somerset has applied to Natural England to extend the culling period to enhance its disease control.

“Our absolute focus, and that of everyone involved, is disease control.

“More than 38,000 cattle were slaughtered in Great Britain in 2012 because of bovine TB.

“These badger cull pilots are a very important first step in what is a 25-year strategy to eradicate this terrible and infectious disease.”

No date for the possible three week extension has been proposed yet.

Comments (2)

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11:04pm Thu 10 Oct 13

NDJMILLER says...

If Paterson and Kendall can't get their act together over a short period of six weeks then what makes them think they can successfully implement a 25-year strategy ? It's absolutely laughable for them to claim that they can plan that far ahead anyway, anyone can see that it's empty rhetoric designed to buy them time. Will anyone really remember that they said this come the year 2038 or hold them to account if it doesn't work ? It's like Krebs telling MAFF in 1997 that the best solution is a cattle vaccine, 16 years later and we're still waiting.
If Paterson and Kendall can't get their act together over a short period of six weeks then what makes them think they can successfully implement a 25-year strategy ? It's absolutely laughable for them to claim that they can plan that far ahead anyway, anyone can see that it's empty rhetoric designed to buy them time. Will anyone really remember that they said this come the year 2038 or hold them to account if it doesn't work ? It's like Krebs telling MAFF in 1997 that the best solution is a cattle vaccine, 16 years later and we're still waiting. NDJMILLER
  • Score: 16

7:17am Fri 11 Oct 13

FreeSpeech? says...

Astonishing how many incompetent a**eholes you can get running so called scientific research. They have no idea how many badgers there are in to cull zones so how do they know when they have reached the required 70%, in one breath they state that they are trying to see if it will have an effect of the Btb in the cull zones and the next breath it's all to do with see if a cull can be carried out humanely. Now i understand that as they can't shoot enough badgers they are cage trapping them and then shooting when the whole idea of shooting in the first place was the latter was too expensive, why they can't vaccinate them them if they are trapping them God only knows.
My conclusion is they haven't got a clue and the farmers are gullible.
Astonishing how many incompetent a**eholes you can get running so called scientific research. They have no idea how many badgers there are in to cull zones so how do they know when they have reached the required 70%, in one breath they state that they are trying to see if it will have an effect of the Btb in the cull zones and the next breath it's all to do with see if a cull can be carried out humanely. Now i understand that as they can't shoot enough badgers they are cage trapping them and then shooting when the whole idea of shooting in the first place was the latter was too expensive, why they can't vaccinate them them if they are trapping them God only knows. My conclusion is they haven't got a clue and the farmers are gullible. FreeSpeech?
  • Score: 16

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