10 March 1999
Farmers propose hot-spot badger cull
By Isabel Davies
FARM leaders have proposed new measures to secure a limited badger cull in hot-spot areas outside the experimental zones involved in the Krebs trial.
The new strategy was put forward today (Wednesday) during evidence to MPs at the House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee investigating bovine tuberculosis and badgers.
Ministry of Agriculture officials are being asked to act now to control the spread of cattle TB, which has now spread to areas previously free from the disease.
Fears are growing that delays to the Krebs experiment have allowed the disease to spread, with infected cattle now being found as far north as Derbyshire.
The National Farmers Union is proposing that all farms near TB outbreaks should be tested after two and four months to establish the extent of the disease.
“Farming families and their cattle desperately need these additional measures as the situation worsens in many parts of England and Wales, “said Brian Jennings, NFU animal health committee chairman.
Mr Jennings suggested reactive badger culling if TB is still confirmed after three tests, where wildlife surveys indicated badgers were the likely source of infection.
In previous evidence sessions, scientists told MPs that allowing culling outside the Krebs areas would seriously effect the validity of the trial results.