Aborted badger cull angers farmers

July 4, 2008 at 2:10 PM
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LONDON, July 4 (UPI) -- British Environment Secretary Hilary Benn's decision not to cull badgers throughout the country could be disastrous, farming officials say.

National Farmers Union President Peter Kendell said despite advice from former Chief Scientific Adviser David King, Benn decided to place farmers' financial futures at risk by not reducing the badger population in areas where tuberculosis has been spreading among cattle, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

"With 28,000 animals culled last year this is a very serious threat to the livestock industry in this country," Kendell said of the cattle deaths caused by the spread of the infection.

Yet without definitive proof that badgers are transmitting the infection, wildlife advocates have applauded Benn's decision to hold off on the emergency action.

"We congratulate Hilary Benn on sticking to the scientific evidence and drawing a line under any consideration of a badger cull," Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Stephanie Hilborne told the British newspaper. "There is no single solution to this disease, but now is the time for all parties to throw their weight behind cattle-to-cattle control measures and improved bio-security to deal with bovine TB."

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