Change the public’s mind over a badger cull, farmers urged

Visitors to this year’s Game Fair 2008 have been urged to take photographs of TB-infected badgers on their farms in a bid to change the public’s attitude towards culling.

Shadow environment secretary Jim Paice, said the public would be “horrified” if they saw how badgers suffered as they were dying from the disease and would change their minds about a cull.

“I want everyone at the Game Fair with TB-infected badgers on their land to take photos of them,” he told delegates at a conference discussing agricultural policy.

“There is nothing more repulsive than seeing a badger with TB. They suffer immensely.

“If we can bring this to the public’s attention, we can change their minds about a badger cull.”

Mr Paice said the outbreak of TB in Holland from infected UK calves showed what could happen if the government did not tackle the disease quickly.

“It was bound to happen sooner or later,” he said. “It’s a relief the European Commission did not decide to implement a calf export ban this time.

“But sooner or later there will be more incidents of exported animals testing positive for TB and we will face the problem sooner or later. Something has to be done.”

Junior DEFRA secretary Jeff Rooker admitted the UK had “got away” with avoiding an export ban.

“I’ve always approached this issue from a trade perspective,” he said.

“I have warned about the potential for a trade dispute. We were close to a difficult decision in Europe, but we got away with is this time.”