26 May 2000
Exmoor farmers boycott badger cull
By John Burns
FARMERS on Exmoor are have voted to boycott the governments badger culling trial aimed at establishing whether the animals pass tuberculosis to cattle.
The farmers say they will refuse to take part in the experiment unless badger culling takes place throughout Exmoor wherever the disease is found in cattle.
Farmer Christopher Thomas-Everard, said: “The experiment is nothing more than a way for politicians to kick the TB/badger problem into the long grass.”
But John Bourne, the scientist in charge of the culling trial, has told the farmers that large-scale killing of badgers is politically unacceptable.
The farmers have interpreted he comments as meaning that widespread culling of badgers is unlikely, even if the trial shows it reduces TB in cattle.
A meeting of the National Farmers Union Exmoor hill farming committee voted not to volunteer to join the trial under the present terms.