Extend badger cull trials to newly hit TB areas, says NFU
By Jonathan Riley
THE NFU will call for an extension of badger culling trials to areas newly affected by TB outbreaks in its response to the Krebs report.
After a series of meetings across the UK, chairman of the NFUs animal health and welfare committee, Brian Jennings, said feelings were running high among farmers in areas where TB was on the increase, yet there was no badger culling.
But he warned producers not to take the law into their own hands and kill badgers themselves. “It is illegal. And if the hierarchy in a badger group is disrupted by culling, it may allow badgers in from other groups, increasing the likelihood of TB being introduced.
The Krebs committee recommended that culling should be restricted to trial sites in the south west and Wales. But Mr Jennings said farmers also wanted to see culling in the new outbreak areas in the West Midlands.
And he also wanted badger culling in an unaffected area. “This would show how effective a culling programme could be at keeping the disease out. “This extra research may cost more now, but could save expenditure on investigation and compensation in the future.
He said the NFU would continue its fight to get compensation increased for TB reactors from its current rate of 75% of average market value.
“The rate should be 125% of the actual value of the animal affected,” said Mr Jennings. That would reflect the loss of production and disruption caused by TB more accurately.