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Somerset badger cull to proceed this summer with 'no further delays'

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: February 27, 2013

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A controversial badger cull pilot in West Somerset will go ahead this summer, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has confirmed today.

The proposed cull is one of two that were originally due to take place last autumn, but were postponed in October due to a number of issues including bad weather, legal problems and new figures of badger numbers in the proposed cull zones.

Speaking at the National Farmers Union's annual conference today, Mr Paterson said authorisation letters have been issued by Natural England confirming the culls can go ahead this summer.

The Environment Secretary added that he is determined "there are no further delays this year" in carrying out the culls, planned for West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.

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Mr Paterson said: “Bovine TB is spreading at an alarming rate and causing real devastation to our beef and dairy industry.

"The authorisation letters issued today confirming culling can proceed this summer in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset 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 Gloucestershire.

“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.”

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  • nickthompson  |  February 27 2013, 7:31PM

    The greatest tragedy of all is that we cannot have a similar cull at Westminster.

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  • Clued-Up  |  February 27 2013, 7:17PM

    Paterson is wilfully deaf so there's clearly not much point in the scientists continuing to explain to him why his daft badger slaughter scheme WON'T work and WILL cost huge sums of tax-payers' money. He's treating with contempt the opposition to the cull of 90% plus voters and the democratic process itself (MPs voted against the cull by a substantial majority). We're now faced with the purely practical problem of how to stop the cull, using legal means. I suggest the first need is for good intelligence about the cull area, all the residents and businessses within it, the landowners who've given permission to shoot badgers on their land and the various media (including small parish magazines, often effective in influencing neighbours). That can be done by internet search and by direct contact. The next stage is to start using this information to good effect - lobbying the various groups, running PR campaigns and organising successful and imaginative protests. Tourism and farm businesses, for example, may already have realised the risks to their economic survival if this universally unpopular cull goes ahead in their area. A strong enough campaign might persuade Tory MPs and Cameron to ditch Paterson, for fear of what he's doing to their chances of re-election. He's already proved himself a highly ineffective minister - which may mean he's more easily toppled.

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