The NFU has called for farmers to start a fightback against the government’s decision not to sanction a badger cull in a bid to tackle bovine TB.

NFU Peter Kendall urged the farming industry to join together to give a “resounding message” about the decision by DEFRA secretary Hillary Benn.

“Yesterday was a tragedy for farming families,” Mr Kendall said.

“We must now start the fightback. We will work together as a united industry to make a difference.”

Protest

Mr Kendall’s comments came at an NFU protest held outside DEFRA offices and Parliament in London today (Tuesday, 8 June).

Industry representatives and MPs were joined by 28 farming families, who represented the 28,000 cattle which were slaughtered last year as a result of bovine TB.

To applause and cheers from the amassed farmers, Mr Kendall said the NFU would “leave no stone unturned” in changing the government decision.

Legal challenge

He pledged to launch a legal challenge over the decision and said he would be in Brussels next week to see if the European Commission could offer any help.

The NFU had also decided to withdraw from aiding government in its consultation on cost sharing and responsibility, he added.

Mr Kendall said the proposal for an industry group to look at ways of controlling the disease was “unbelievable”.

“Mr Benn fixed the group’s agenda and its terms. We don’t call that a partnership.

“We want an independent animal health body, free from politics. We have got to move on. We will carry on this fight because we have to change this.”

More to follow.