David Cameron says he is “convinced” a cull of badgers to tackle tuberculosis in cattle is the right thing to do.
And the Prime Minister warned protesters against intimidating farmers backing two licensed “pilot” culls, one in West Somerset and another in West Gloucestershire.
His comments came as angry opponents of the cull protested outside the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.
Speaking to regional newspaper journalists, the Prime Minister said yesterday: “I am convinced it’s the right policy. For years this issue has been dodged and ducked.
“You’ve got over 25,000 cattle being destroyed every year. The cost is running to £90 million a year. We are heading to spend £1 billion over a decade if we don’t grip this.”
Mr Cameron added: “I believe this is the right policy for healthy badgers as well as healthy cattle. It’s not good having badgers catching and dying of TB as well. It is the right policy. It is difficult.
“There shouldn’t be intimidation. This has been fairly, democratically, reasonably arrived at. It has been challenged. I think it has been done highly properly. Obviously they (opponents) have a right to protest, but they don’t have a right to intimidate.”
Culls are set to go ahead within weeks.