The government's decided to postpone a proposed cull of badgers in Gloucestershire and west Somerset. Farmers fear the creatures are the cause of widespread bovine tuberculosis, a disease that can wipe out whole herds of cattle and depress any revenues a farming business makes – and that the disease needs controlling. Fast. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told the Commons today the cull will now be delayed until Spring 2013.
Celebrities like Queen rock guitarist, Brian May, and wildlife presenter, Sir David Attenborough are just a couple of the high-profile and outspoken advocates of the STOP THE BADGER CULL campaign. Animal rights protestors were concerned over how effective any cull might be and the cost of it all as well as the fact that evidence shows bovine TB is also spread by cows, and not just badgers. The government has been persuaded to push the cull back by the National Farmers Union who say there are currentlydouble the number of badgers around than previously thought – and that's too high a population for farmers to be able to ensure they can kill the minimum 70% of them to make a successful cull.
Owen Paterson, Environment Secretary says: I must emphasise that there is no change to the government's policy. We remain absolutely committed to it, but we must ensure that we work with the NFU to get the delivery right'
The Independent Science Group, which has conducted a 10-year study into badger culling, says the process has little or no effect on the spread of the disease. Meanwhile the RSPCA wants the planned cull cancelled. There'll be a House of Commons discussion on it all this Thursday.