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We're ready to fight for the badgers
CAMPAIGNERS are gearing up to fight a six-week badger cull which got under way in Gloucestershire this week.
Activists from campaign group Stop the Cull have already gathered in the county to form a ‘wounded badger patrol’.
The controversial cull, aimed at tackling tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, was given the green light by Defra and about 5,000 badgers are expected to be killed in Gloucestershire and Somerset under two pilot schemes.
Roger Mortlock, chief executive of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are very conscious of the hardship that Bovine TB (bTB) causes our farming community.
However, science clearly shows a badger cull is not the solution to bTB. The focus on free shooting badgers at the expense of other solutions to eradicating Bovine TB is polarising communities in Gloucestershire.
“We’ve invested in badger vaccination to demonstrate that there is another way.
We believe this approach could easily be scaled up and are keen to work with local landowners looking for an alternative to culling.”
Liz Gaffer, of Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, who has set up the wounded badger patrol in the area, said: “There’s a massive animal welfare issue. Only a small amount of these badgers will have TB. They are going to shoot them in a such a way that they will be wounded but won’t die straight away. We just don’t believe it’s going to make a difference.”
However, Charles Mann, county chairman of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) who is an organic farmer, believes the cull is the right way to tackle the issue. He said: “For 30 years we’ve tried to tackle TB in cattle with absolutely no success at all.
“In the 1970s there was a couple of hundred outbreaks, now there’s 5,000 new outbreaks a year and 38,000 cattle being slaughtered.
“What we are trying to do is reduce the number of badgers in this really bad hotspot area.”
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