Delight as badger cull will not happen

A BADGER group in the county has welcomed the decision by the government that a mass cull of badgers throughout England will not go ahead

The announcement by environment minister Hilary Benn on Monday followed a lengthy period of public consultation carried out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in 2006.

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During the consultation the Badger Trust and the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts lobbied against a cull.

And it has now been confirmed that not enough evidence exists to suggest a cull would reverse the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.

In fact, the number of cattle in the UK carrying the virus has declined during the consultation period.

Mervyn Anthony, chairman of Northumberland Badger Group, said: "The case against the badger was always significantly flawed.

"We are relieved that the correct decision has been made and a cull will no longer take place.

"The battle to combat TB in cattle needs to be addressed, but by using other methods.

"Perhaps now the badger will no longer be used as a scapegoat."

Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust chief executive, added: "Badgers are important symbols of English wildlife and indeed feature in the logo for a great many wildlife trusts across the UK.

"A mass cull of such an important species which has become a major part of our wildlife heritage would not only be inappropriate but also extremely inhumane.

"We understand the concerns of farmers and landowners but this was an inappropriate solution to a challenge which needs to be tackled using different methods."