Badger Cull Pilot areas confirmed - defra

21st January 2012
Badger Cull Pilot areas confirmed - defra
Landowners and farmers from two carefully-selected areas are now able to apply for licences to pilot new measures designed to tackle the devastating impact of bovine TB, Agriculture Minister Jim Paice has confirmed.
The disease forced the slaughter of 25,000 cattle in 2010 alone and will cost taxpayers around £1 billion over the next ten years if not effectively dealt with. Two areas in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset have been selected, from a shortlist proposed by the farming industry, as the most suitable to pilot controlled shooting of badgers. This forms part of a science-led and closely monitored policy to bring bovine TB under control.
Jim Paice said: “Bovine TB is a chronic and devastating disease. It causes the slaughter of tens of thousands of cattle each year, and is taking a terrible toll on our farmers and rural communities. Nobody wants to cull badgers. But no country in the world where wildlife carries TB has eradicated the disease in cattle without tackling it in wildlife too. These two pilots are just part of a wide range of activity on bovine TB. We already have robust measures to control its spread amongst cattle, which we plan to strengthen further, and are continuing to work hard on the development of practical and usable vaccines. Natural England will now assess applications against a set of strict criteria. If these are not met, licences will not be granted.”
The pilots will allow the careful examination of how safe, humane and effective controlled shooting is and were announced, after public consultation on better tackling bovine TB, in December last year. Farmers and landowners in these areas are now able to apply to Natural England as a group for a licence to take part. Their applications will then be assessed against strict criteria before a decision is taken on whether to issue a licence.