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Speculation over imminent badger cull start
SPECULATION is mounting that the controversial badger cull could begin tonight (August 26).
More than 2,000 badgers will be killed within a 300sqkm pilot area in West Somerset in an attempt to curb the costly effects of TB on the cattle farming industry.
The cull has divided opinion since the government announced its plans last year, with more than 266,000 people signing a petition against it.
The High Court last week issued an injunction restricting the activities of certain anti-cull protesters after the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) raised concerns about farmers and landowners in the three potential pilot zones in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset, being harassed and threatened.
Spokesman Adrian Coward said: “The result of the NFU injunction award does not in any way prevent us from holding this event and there is no unlawful aspect of the way we operate.
“We really do need to continue to make the public aware and show the NFU that our resolve has not diminished as a result of their attempt to stop us from legally protesting against their obsession to kill badgers at any cost.”
But officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the NFU are refusing to comment on when the cull might start.
A Defra spokesperson said: “Bovine TB is spreading across England and devastating our cattle and dairy industries.
“In TB hot spots such as Gloucestershire and Somerset we need to deal with the infection in badgers if we’re to get a grip on TB there. No country has dealt with the disease without tackling infection in both wildlife and cattle.
“We are working on new cattle and oral badger vaccines but they are years away from being ready and we cannot wait while this terrible disease spreads.”
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