5 July 2000
MAFF ‘to step up badger cull’

THOUSANDS more badgers are set to be slaughtered in a bid by the government to control tuberculosis in cattle, reports The Guardian.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown, has spent “months mired in farmyard manure and wellies, in an effort to show he listens to farmers”, reports the paper.

“He now seems poised to condemn badgers before the evidence is available, desperate to end farmers incessant whining,” it adds.

Results from the ongoing Krebs trial designed to establish whether badgers transmit TB to cattle are unlikely to be available until 2004 at the earliest.

The plan has been opposed by conservation and welfare organisations, and by Professor Bourne who is leading the team overseeing the Krebs trial.

Results from the trial, designed to establish whether badgers transmit TB to cattle, are unlikely to be available until 2004 at the earliest, says The Guardian.

Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union has “concocted a proposal for more badgers to be killed wherever badgers can easily be blamed for TB break-outs”.

In the meantime, the National Farmers Union plans to force a vote on the issue of additional culling at a meeting next week, claims The Guardian.

It will take place at a meeting of the TB Forum set up by the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss cattle management measures to combat bovine TB.

“The Forum was set up with a majority of pro-cull organisations, so a majority is inevitable if a vote takes place,” the paper says.

“Culling could then get formal approval while the foxhunting bill dominates Parliament, reducing unwelcome media attention.”