Stroud District Council has voted to ban any cull of badgers on its land after more than an hour of heated discussion at its latest meeting on Thursday (26 April).
The motion, tabled by Labour councillor David Drew and Green Party councillor John Marjoram, called for a ban on all badger culling on land owned, managed and controlled by the council.
It was passed by 20 votes in favour of the ban, with 14 against, and 11 abstentions. The councillors also requested that the authority sign up to the lobby group Stroud 100’s campaign to prevent culling on thousands of acres of land in the area.
“The decision by the government to cull badgers is inhumane, unnecessary and counterproductive,” said Cllr Drew in an earlier statement.
“All the scientific evidence shows clearly that badger culling is not effective in eradicating bovine TB. Why the government is ignoring the evidence is unclear, but to allow whole-scale slaughter of badgers for no good scientific reason is completely crazy and quite unacceptable.
“A vaccine programme for badgers could be in place within two or three years and that’s what the government should be focusing on.”
However, John Royle, chief farm policy adviser at the NFU, dismissed the council’s influence over a future cull.
“We believe a targeted and coordinated cull of badgers in those areas where the disease is endemic in the badger population is the most effective way of dealing with this terrible disease in both cattle and in badgers,” he said.
The motion by Stroud District Council not to allow culling on land owned by the council will have no bearing on whether the cull proceeds in west Gloucestershire, as the control company has already secured access to 70% of the area which is the minimum required to submit a licence application.”
The government announced plans for two pilot badger culls, to be carried out over a six-week period later this year in west Somerset and west Gloucestershire.
The pilot culls, scheduled to begin after the Olympics, will aim to test whether the controlled shooting of badgers is humane, effective and safe.
If successful, they could pave the way for the creation of a further 10 cull areas in England in 2013.
Badgers are considered to be one of the main vectors for bovine TB, which costs the taxpayer up to £100m a year.
DEFRA has warned the disease will cost £1bn in England alone over the next decade unless more action is taken.
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