26 December 1997

Peak man devastated

PEAK district farmer Ed Barker, who is waiting for the results of the latest TB test on his dairy herd to see if movement restrictions can be lifted, said he was flabbergasted by the Krebs report.

His farm at Wootton, near Ashbourne, is in the new-outbreak area where badger culling has been banned since May (News, Nov 28). Prof Krebs has advised that the trials that need to be set up, where there will be limited culling, should be confined only to the TB hot-spots of the south west and south Wales.

"The government is just going to watch me go out of business over the next five years," Mr Barker said.

"I cant believe that on the one hand the government acted so quickly in banning meat on the bone, where there is a remote risk of infectivity, while on the other they admit that badgers are responsible for TB but are prepared to sit and wait for five years until it is absolutely proven."

Mr Barker believed the Krebs report had been ready as early as June, since when it had been watered down to please wildlife groups.

"I have been left out in the cold and my faith in common sense has gone," he said.