Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Badger cull begins in Somerset in attempt to tackle TB

A controversial badger cull is under way in England despite protests, the National Farmers' Union has confirmed.

About 5,000 badgers are expected to be killed in controlled shootings over six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Supporters say the cull is necessary to tackle bovine TB, which can be spread from infected badgers, but opponents say it is inhumane and ineffective.

The RSPCA said it was "saddened", while anti-cull protesters held a vigil as the pilot began, initially Somerset.

It is understood the cull in Gloucestershire will start later this week.

In a letter to members, National Farmers' Union (NFU) president Peter Kendall said: "This is an important step not just for cattle farmers but for the whole farming industry.

"I know that many of you reading this will have suffered the misery of dealing with TB on farm - some of you for decades - and I hope now you will feel that something is finally being done to stem the cycle of infection between cattle and badgers."

He added that he hoped the culls would show a reduction in TB in cattle, and that more people would understand why they were "absolutely necessary".

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