Saturday, 15 March 2014

Backbenchers issue strong call for Government to abandon badger cull

The future of badgers still hangs in the balance

March 2014: Backbench MPs have overwhelmingly voted for the controversial badger call to be abandoned in favour of vaccination. The backbench vote, of 219 to 1, is not binding, however, and has no direct consequences, but campaign groups described it as a disaster for the Government. They believe that it underlines how strong is the opposition to the policy, with Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians speaking out against it, and that it leaves the Coalition with no alternative but to hold a full vote before making the final decision on whether or not to extend the cull.

The pilot culling scheme, which began last autumn, aimed to control the spread of bovine TB by killing at least 70 per cent of the badgers in areas of west Somerset and west Gloucestershire over a period of six weeks. But both schemes were extended after initial figures suggested 58 per cent of badgers were eradicated in Somerset and 30 per cent in Gloucestershire.

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