Badger cull interview sparks NFU complaint

The NFU has written a formal letter of complaint to DEFRA following a radio appearance by a Natural England official to talk about the government’s badger culling proposals.

NFU President Peter Kendall has written to DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman to raise concerns about comments made by Andrew Wood, Natural England’s executive director for science, on the BBC Farming Today programme.

Mr Wood appeared on the programme on Thursday August 25 to discuss Natural England’s formal response to government proposals on badger controls.

During the interview he said that the method of culling being proposed by DEFRA was not evidence-based and he also raised questions about the size of culling areas.

Speaking about the letter Mr Kendall said: “It was already bad enough that Natural England had submitted an extremely unhelpful response to the consultation on issuing licences to cull badgers.

“But for an official of the Agency charged with delivering government policy to appear on the radio arguing against government policy is in my view unacceptable.

“The ultimate aim, to eradicate bTB, will require concerted working from all parties. I have asked the Secretary of State to ensure that all government agencies work towards this objective.”

A spokeswoman from Natural England declined to comment. DEFRA said it was an issue for the NFU and Natural England.

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