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article imageWar of words continues over badger cull

By Tim Sandle     Jun 13, 2015 in Environment
London - The U.K. government is pushing ahead with its badger culls throughout England. However, in Wales, where there is devolved government, the authorities are administering vaccinations instead. The difference is about responding to the risk of tuberculosis.
As Digital Journal has covered previously the U.K. government has undertaken a series of badger culls at different intervals since 2013. These exterminations are designed to prevent badgers spreading tuberculosis (TB) to cattle, in order to safeguard meat and milk supplies. Badgers are considered by some researchers (although this is not conclusive) to pass on the bacterial infection to cattle through urine, feces or via droplet infection.
Some groups, most notably the British Ecological Society, have argued that culling either doesn’t work or it is simply inefficient. The body of scientists argue that other measures, which could include vaccination, should be considered instead.
However, following the election victory of David Cameron and his Conservative Party, the government has indicated that badger culls will be continued and the rate of culls increased. This is seen as a move in support of famers. Many farmer owners are supporters of the Conservatives.
A different approach is being taken in Wales. Here, rather than culling, the Welsh government, which can decide many aspects of agricultural policy separate to that of the U.K. parliament, has embarked on a vaccination program. The aim is to make badgers immune to TB and the scheme is being presented as an alternative to culling.
With this, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans, said: “Our TB eradication program involves a comprehensive range of measures working in partnership with the industry. It includes annual testing, cattle movement restrictions, free biosecurity advice to farmers through our Cymorth TB initiative and badger vaccination in both the IAA and across Wales where it is supported by our badger vaccination grant.”
Meanwhile, according to The Daily Telegraph, a campaign has begun against Sainsbury’s (a leading U.K. supermarket). Here activists have stated that they are prepared to invade stores to carry out protests as part of an attempt to stop the supermarket buying milk from areas where badgers are being culled.
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