Wednesday, September 15, 2010

England to kill badgers.

The government has set out plans to license farmers in England to shoot badgers on their land, with tens of thousands of animals potentially targeted.

The government believes the badger cull is necessary to curb TB in cattle.

Cattle TB cost the UK more than £100m last year.

But campaigners who successfully mounted a legal challenge against plans for a cull in Wales say the scientific evidence for culling does not stack up.

The European badger (Meles meles) is a protected species under European and British law, but ministers can sanction killing in certain circumstances, including to tackle diseases.

It is believed the government will change the instructions it gives to Natural England, the statutory agency that issues licences, in order that farmers can gain permission to kill badgers on the basis that they carry the bovine TB bacterium.

The previous Labour government concluded culling did not make scientific or economic sense, and instructed the agency not to issue licences for TB control.

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