West Somerset badger culls to proceed this summer with 'no further delays'

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By abbie_taunton | Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 14:56

Badger culls are to go ahead in West Somerset as early as June 2013, according to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

Pilot badger culls will take place in West Somerset and Gloucestershire in an attempt to halt the spread of tuberculosis in cattle.

The pilot culls were postponed last Autumn after issues including bad weather and the number of badgers in the selected areas.

Mr Paterson announced the 2013 cull plans at the National Farmers' Union (NFU) annual conference today.

He stressed that he was "determined" to push these culls ahead: "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."

Under the plans, badgers will be shot in the open without first being trapped in cages, which is current practice.

West Somerset Farmers will be allowed to shoot up to 5,094 badgers over six weeks, starting as early as June 2013.

Opposition to the culls include the RSPCA  and Queen rock star Brian May and opponents have promised to continue their action against the culls.

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