Groups of farmers, applying for a licence to cull badgers, face a £1.4m bill to carry out the operation, farm minister Jim Paice has said.
Mr Paice said DEFRA had calculated the costs to farmers and landowners within each 350sq km cull zone.
Answering a question in the House of Commons last week (7 November), Mr Paice said the costs covered all aspects of carrying out a cull to tackle bovine TB, including co-ordinating and surveying.
But he said that agriculture believed a cull could actually be carried out more cheaply.
“This is based on DEFRA’s estimated cost of culling,” he told MPs.
“The industry believes that it can be delivered for less.”
Mr Paice said DEFRA was also in discussion with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office over the police response and associated costs related to the proposed cull.
His comments came after NFU president Peter Kendall called on the police to protect farmers and landowners from animal rights’ extremists who could spark violence if a cull was sanctioned.
Speaking at an ACPO conference on rural crime last week (10 November), Mr Kendall said farmers were prepared for intimidation, violence and criminal damage.
“We need to be prepared for illegal activity,” he added. “I hope the police will help us carry out something which is so necessary.”
Shadow environment minister Mary Creagh said DEFRA’s estimated costings for carrying out a cull proved the badger cull plans were bad for farmers and taxpayers.
“It is huge amount for people to find when they are being squeezed by rising fuel, feed and fertiliser prices,” she said.
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