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Badger culls will go ahead, says Secretary of State

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THE pilot badger culls to assess the feasibility of culling as part of measures to control bovine TB will go ahead this summer, according to Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State at Defra.

Addressing the Oxford Farming Conference last week, Mr Paterson described the decision to postpone the culls last autumn as ‘a disappointing one for us all, but the right one in terms of the effective delivery of the policy’. Noting that he had established a project board of all the key partners, including Defra and its agencies, the National Farmers' Union, Natural England and the police, to oversee the delivery of the pilot culls, he commented: ‘We are all committed to working together in partnership to ensure that the culls go ahead and to establish a sustainable model for future deployment.’

Describing bovine TB as the most pressing animal health problem in the UK, he said that experience in other countries had indicated that the disease in cattle could not be controlled without also dealing with it in the surrounding wildlife population. ‘In New Zealand, the number of infected cattle and deer herds has been reduced from 1700 in the mid-1990s to fewer than 100 in …

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