COUNTRY Lane and Business Association boss in the East Midlands Andrew Shirley has welcomed the Government move to cull badgers to help control the spread of bovine TB.
He said: “We are very relieved the Government is ready to give the go-ahead to a cull to help control bovine TB. This is the only way we can work towards the eradication of this horrendous disease.
“Badger culling, TB testing, cattle movement control and removal and slaughter of infected animals are all essential tools in the battle against the scourge of bovine TB. We also need to work to ensure the difficulties with vaccinating both badgers and cattle are overcome. However, we acknowledge this is some years away. All these measures are needed to get rid of bovine TB.”
Mr Shirley said Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is going to enormous lengths to ensure the badger cull will be carried out humanely and effectively.
Government is planning a statutory consultation on the guidance being given to Natural England which will issue badger control licences. This is to be followed by a 10-week trial cull in two badly affected areas in the South West and then a roll-out in other bovine TB hotspots.
The CLA’s regional leader said: “The Secretary of State is absolutely right to back a controlled cull, carried out by farmers and landowners, as part of a science-led, well-managed and sustained bTB control policy.
“Mrs Spelman’s statement today is courageous, signalling her intention to take a decision, undoubtedly unpopular in some quarters, for the good of the health and welfare of farmed animals and wildlife.
“If nothing were done, bovine TB would cost England more than £1billion over the next decade with hundreds of thousands of cattle dying needlessly because of this terrible disease that should have been tackled.”