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Stackyard News Jul 06

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Huge response to badger culling consultation

Two reports summarising the responses to the consultation on bovine TB and badger culling were published by Defra today.

The first report summarises 47,000 written responses of which:

  • 95% of respondents were opposed to a cull of badgers
  • 50% of interested organisations were against a cull
  • 41% of interested organisations were for a cull (9% did not give a view or gave a neutral response).

The second report summarises the Citizens Panels ( which were held to consider the issue. Participants did not reach a decision lightly, firstly because of the lack of conclusive evidence, and secondly because of the scale of impact of a decision either way.

The outcome of these panels included:

  • Through discussion in groups the view was marginally in favour of a cull but with many conditions
  • When asked individually there was a 50/50 even split in opinion for and against a cull
  • Participants also made clear that it was important that all parties to the debate should be working together towards the solution, rather than against each other.

Animal Health & Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw said:

“The consultation has been invaluable in helping Ministers hear from all sides of the debate - farmers, conservationists, scientists, vets and the wider public.

This is clearly an emotive subject that strongly divides opinion. But what is clear is that respondents broadly agree that any decision on culling must be based on a sound scientific and practical foundation.”

A significant reduction in new bovine TB cases in cattle has been recorded over the past six months. The reasons for the fall are not yet clear but are being investigated. Ministers have said that they will base a decision on badger culling on a sound scientific and practical foundation and are not yet in a position to do this.

We will work closely in the coming months with all interested groups to try to establish a shared understanding of the facts so that we can take decisions that are sustainable and practicable in the long term. We are not ruling anything in or out at this stage. Our trials of potential badger culling methods will continue and we are continuing to consider the organisation and practicability of a potential badger cull.

link Badger Trust welcomes Miliband's commitment to science
link Badger Trust "disappointed" by beef farmers' "cynical threats"
link Defra cannot let farmers down over badger cull, says NBA
link NFU "mired in confusion" over bovine TB
link NFU badger culling demand "laughable" say conservationists

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