12 March 1999

NFU calls for extension of badger cull

THE NFU has put forward new proposals to secure a limited badger cull in areas outside of the current governments trial zones.

The new strategy was revealed when the union gave evidence to the House of Commons agriculture select committee this week.

There was an urgent need for MAFF to act now to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis, especially with herd breakdowns now being reported in areas previously free of the disease, the NFU said.

It expressed fears that the halt on badger culling in all but the limited trial zones was responsible for TB spreading.

The union has proposed that all herds around any farm where a new outbreak occurs should be tested within two months and then again after four months in order to establish the extent of a particular outbreak and its epicentre.

If there were three test breakdowns, and a wildlife survey indicated that badgers were the most likely source of infection, badger culling should be introduced.

"Farming families and their cattle desperately need these additional measures as the situation worsens in many parts of England and Wales," said Brian Jennings, chairman of the NFUs animal health committee. &#42