Badger cull decision still on course

DEFRA insists a decision on a badger cull to combat bovine tuberculosis remains on course – although it might not be made before the end of May.

An announcement on a cull could be made before the end of the parliamentary period, a DEFRA spokesman told Farmers Weekly.

A decision on a cull had been expected last February. But the government delayed the announcement following a public consultation.

Last week, farm minister Jim Paice said: There are a number of issues that have to be resolved, which emerged during the consultation period. We will be announcing our conclusions on the issue of culling badgers, alongside launching a wider package of measures, in the not too distant future.”

Although many farmers will welcome a badger cull, any decision to do so will be vehemently opposed by animal welfare campaigners.

TV presenter Adam Henson was sent letters from animal rights activists threatening to “burn his children” after he reported on the proposed cull.

Mr Henson, who is also Farmers Weekly Farm Champion of the Year, received the threats after an episode of BBC Countryfile.

He revealed the threat during a Q&A session with 185 farmers and agricultural professionals during a conference in Cornwall.

“There are some very nasty extremists about,” he warned as he answered questions from the audience. “I have had some serious hate letters from them – things like ‘we are going to burn your children’.”

Mr Henson said he followed BBC guidelines to the letter when presenting the programme, the Western Morning News reported.

“These guidelines are very strict. So you will never hear me saying we should be culling badgers. My hands are completely tied on the issue. I cannot campaign for anything at all, simply report what is said on both sides.”