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Badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire to be delayed until next summer

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: October 23, 2012

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Badger cull plans for parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire have been delayed until next summer.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has announced the decision in Parliament this afternoon.

He said a number of factors have contributed to the decision including bad weather, legal problems and new figures of badger numbers in the proposed cull zones.

There are now an estimated 4,300 badgers in the West Somerset area, up from earlier calculations of 3,000.

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For a cull to be successful, experts say 70 per cent of the badgers in each zone must be culled. Farmers are not confident these targets can be hit, due to delays and increased badger population estimates.

Mr Paterson said the companies due to carry out the culls had submitted written requests to delay the culls until next summer.

He said the Government was still entirely committed to the pilot culls, and that they would be carried out safely in 2013 because the "optimal time" for this year had passed.

"It is crucial that we get this right," he said.

Under the controversial plans, up to 100,000 badgers could be shot as the Government bids to reduce levels of bovine TB.

An e-petition against the cull, created by Queen guitarist Brian May, has attracted more than 160,000 signatures.

Rumours of a possible Government U-turn were rife late last week when Mr Paterson cancelled a series of media interviews.

Click here to view or download a 24-page House of Commons Library briefing on badger culling.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 24 2012, 8:32AM

    Why BCG does not perform like other Vaccines. In any normal infection the body defence works by production of vast amounts of antibodies. Such antibodies can also be stimulated by ordinary vaccines for all kinds of bacteria and virus diseases and they can be traced in blood which makes diagnosis with various techniques fairly easy. But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do - because the tubercle bacteria have a waxy coat to which antibodies cannot attach. Tuberculosis therefore causes a so called humoral body defence; that means the very slowly multiplying bacteria are attacked by enzymes and white blood cells mainly. These are killing or even digesting the bacteria by a method called phagocytosis resulting in crumbly pus in the so called tubercles - whole heaps or lumps containing several 1000 to billions of bacteria. This defence is much more unspecific and slower than the usual one by antibodies. Any BCG vaccine stimulates this humoral defence only but never prevents an infection; it may keep it on a low scale maybe. There is no other vaccine available and there most probably will never be another one. No matter how many millions more DEFRA invests ( I hear of some 30 so far for the Vaccine only ) this is nature - which cannot be forced by politics. Dr Ueli Zellweger MRCVS GST TVL Somerset "But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do." "But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do." "But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do." . . . . Dr Ueli Zellweger MRCVS GST TVL Somerset .

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  • grannyonline1  |  October 23 2012, 5:30PM

    dont tell me Charlespk hasnt found this story yet!. Its been a great debate on these boards, with differing opionions. Dont let us the powers that be sit back on this, we must keep at them to develop, and carry out a sustainable policy for TB erradication. This will not go away and we all want that policy to succeed, so see you all again im sure. For now i have Irish peat bogs to report on, but i shall, and have over the last few years, seen the situation here where they have culled badgers.bye for now xx

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  • Arachne  |  October 23 2012, 4:55PM

    Grannyonline1, you are right.

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  • Hareymary  |  October 23 2012, 3:22PM

    Apparently it is getting dark too early and colder that's why its been delayed, who would have thought it would get darker and colder at this time of year. I'd never have guessed.

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  • NDJMILLER  |  October 23 2012, 1:52PM

    Well said grannyonline1. Incidentally I have yet to see any information concerning the funding already paid by farmers, perhaps someone should ask Jan Rowe and Gloscon about returning the money ?

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  • eyeopener  |  October 23 2012, 1:42PM

    @grannyonline1 yours is the BEST way forward.

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  • grannyonline1  |  October 23 2012, 1:32PM

    i, and many others, were against the cull, and fought tooth and nail to get it stopped. It is a hollow victory for us,cows with TB will still be culled. We must now all stop arguing amonst ourselves, and put a proper, sustainable policy of vaccination of both cattle and badgers in place,good, properly policed Bio-security on farms, and we WILL together beat this disease. There are vaccines, and we must use them.

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