MP speaks out against badger cull

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BULWELL Labour MP, Graham Allen, has spoken out against the coalition government’s go-ahead to start a badger cull.

A debate has been raging for months over whether a cull should begin in an attempt to combat bovine TB and protect cattle. It has divided Parliament and wildlife supporters.

But it has now been decided to start the cull in two pilot areas to measure its effectiveness — West Somerset and Gloucestershire.

“I am very disappointed that the government intends to proceed with plans to allow local badger culls,” said Mr Allen. “This decision has been taken despite clear scientific advice that culling is likely to have a marginal effect on bovine TB, that it could pose a threat to local wildlife and that it could spread TB in cattle if farmers fail to oversee an effective cull.

“I am also aware of the concern expressed by many farmers and the National Farmers’ Union that the cost of carrying out the cull could be as high as £2 million per area, which I think is a lot to ask when people are already seeing their incomes squeezed by rising fuel, feed and fertilizer prices.”

Last year more than one in 10 English herds were affected by bovine TB and some 26,000 cattle had to be destroyed. Although hard-pressed dairy farmers receive compensation they, on average, lose some £10,000 per outbreak.

An alternative to culling is the use of vaccinations in livestock and some areas have already decided on this course of action.

Mr Allen added: “Badger culling is not likely to be an effective method of controlling bovine TB and I can assure you that I will continue to press the Government on this issue.”