Badger cull decision expected

Reports indicate that the government will unveil its final decision on the proposed badger cull before Christmas.
Earlier in the year, Sporting Rifle reported on the government’s provisional decision: that a cull would take place in a small number of trial areas in 2012, with the expectation that it would be rolled out more widely in 2013 if the trial was a success.
Farming minister Jim Paice said at the time that a final decision would be made by Christmas, and Farmers Weekly has now reported that an announcement be made in the week before Parliament goes into recess on 20 December.
At the time, environment secretary Caroline Spelman said she was “strongly minded” to back a cull, and a Defra spokesperson recently reiterated this sentiment.
There has, however, been opposition to the cull in recent weeks. Labour’s shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh criticised the potential cost of the cull, saying: “It is a huge amount when people are already being squeezed by rising fuel, feed and fertiliser prices.”
Detective superintendent Adrian Tudway, the national co-ordinator for domestic extremism, warned of the dangers a cull could cause. He said: “Any option that includes farmers culling badgers with firearms has the potential to place armed farm workers in the near vicinity of protesters and activists, typically during the night-time.
“We regard this as a scenario with a clear potential for harm to public safety. Police forces will find themselves under huge pressures to manage even small but sustained campaign activity.”
Farmers, however, are still hopeful a cull will be approved to give them a much-needed method of combating bovine tuberculosis.
A National Farmers’ Union spokesperson said: “We’re hopeful that the cull is going to go ahead.
“We are anticipating a positive announcement and in preparation for that, we have been preparing areas, mapping and meeting farmers and discussing policy.”

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