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Lib Dems pledge to introduce badger cull in response to TB crisis

January 27, 2010 12:00 AM

A badger cull would be an essential part of the Liberal Democrat policy to control bovine TB according to Lib Dem Shadow Defra Secretary Tim Farron, who has accused the Government of "shamelessly ducking the issue".

Figures uncovered by Mr Farron in a parliamentary answer revealed that over 29,000 cattle in England were slaughtered for TB control reasons in just 12 months. Mr Farron says it is time the Government trusted former chief scientific advisor Prof David King's advice, who, in 2007, said the removal of badgers would be 'the best option to reduce the reservoir of infection in wildlife'.

Mr Farron has promised that a Liberal Democrat Government would seek to reduce the huge amounts of cattle being slaughtered by implementing a pilot badger cull along with regular testing and program of vaccines.

Commenting Mr Farron:

"Everybody has lost out from the Government's shameless ducking of this issue - cattle are being slaughtered, badgers are suffering, farmers' livelihoods are being damaged, and taxpayers are footing the bill.

"We cannot go on slaughtering tens of thousands of cattle while ignoring the reservoir of infection in wildlife. Irrespective of what ministers say, now is the time to introduce a science-based cull.

"This should take place in targeted areas under strict guidelines with hard boundaries, so that we can see the impact it would have both on badgers outside and inside the culling zone and the rates of bTB in cattle when regular culling takes place.

"A badger cull, along with a program of vaccines, regular testing and compulsory post-movement testing for cattle moving from high risk areas to low risk areas, would provide farmers with greater protection from the devastating effects of TB."