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article imageControversial badger cull to be extended

By Tim Sandle     Aug 28, 2015 in Environment
Bristol - The hotly debated issue of culling badgers in the U.K. has arisen again with plans by the British government to extend areas where shooting badgers is permitted to Dorset.
As Digital Journal reported, since August 2013 the U.K. government has embarked on a series of badger culls.
The argument in favor of the culls rests with the premise that badgers spread tuberculosis (TB) and this bacterial disease can be contracted by cattle (as bovine TB.) The ease of transmission is not universally supported. Those scientists who believe badgers are a source of bovine TB consider that badgers transfer the disease through their urine, feces or through droplet infection, in the farmyard or in cattle pastures.
With those who support the idea of badgers being a risk, there are different opinions over how to control and contain the disease. These range from culling (which is free reign for framers to shoot badgers) to territorial control and to vaccination. The current government policy is for culling within designated areas (normally along county lines.)
Those opposing culling include the Zoological Society of London, who argue for vaccination and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals); others point out the inefficiency and lack of success with shooting.
These arguments aside, the cull program is being extended to the county of Dorset. This is following pilots in Gloucestershire and Somerset. In Dorest the target is to eliminate a minimum of 615 badgers, with a maximum set at 835. New targets for Gloucestershire are minimum 265, maximum 679 (last year's maximum was 1,091 badgers); with Somerset the target is minimum 55, maximum 524 (last year the maximum was 765.)
This announcement has triggered a new wave of protest, led by Queen guitarist Brian May. According to BBC News, May is threatening legal action against the planned culls.
More about Badgers, Cull, Cows, Animals, Queen
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