TUBERCULOSIS (bovine): 'Nobody wants to kill a badger'
'Nobody wants to kill a badger' but cull will go ahead, says farming minister
Nobody "wants to kill a badger" but a cull to stop the spread of a cattle disease must go ahead as planned from Saturday, the farming minister has said.
The cull has been championed by Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, who may order the policy to be rolled out across England if effective. This could increase the size of the cull from around 5,000 to about 100,000 animals. Photo: ALAMY
David Heath, a minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, confirmed marksmen will shoot up to 70 animals a day in Gloucestershire and Somerset from Saturday.
Protesters have pledged to stop the cull at any cost, with Brian May, the campaigner and musician, describing it as "a crime against our wildlife".
However, Mr Heath said the Government is determined to go ahead with the pilots, which were delayed amid a storm of protests last summer.
The minister told BBC Radio Five Live that "nobody wants to kill a badger if they can avoid it but we do need to get on top of this disease." He said it must be done as no other country has reined in the disease without similar measures.
"There is not a single country in the world that has borne down on bovine TB without doing something about the reservoir in the wildlife population," Mr Heath said.
The cull has been championed by Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, who may order the policy to be rolled out across England if effective. This could increase the size of the cull from around 5,000 to about 100,000 animals.
Mr Paterson claims removing badgers in dairy areas will stop the spread of bovine TB
He has been targeted by protesters threatening to operate his holiday home in Southern France.
Demonstrators are also threatening to carry out citizens arrests and camp out by setts to stop the killing of badger
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