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TWO pilot badger culls are expected to take place in England next year to test the safety, efficacy and humaneness of controlled shooting as a culling method.
Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State at Defra, announced the pilot culls on December 14 as the Government published a policy document describing its approach to bovine TB and badger control in England. On the same day, it also published guidance given to Natural England, the body that will be responsible for issuing culling licences.
The policy document explains that the Government has concluded that maintaining the current approach to tackling bovine TB by focusing mainly on cattle measures is not sufficient. While measures to control the disease in cattle will remain the foundation of the TB eradication programme, it says that the reservoir of disease in badgers needs to be tackled. ‘We have to make a judgement based on the available evidence and, having assessed the known and estimated effects of badger culling and vaccination, Defra veterinary and scientific advice is that culling in high cattle TB incidence areas, carried out in line with strict evidence-based licence criteria, will reduce the number of infected badgers and thus the …