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THE Government announced on August 30 that badger culling licences had been granted for seven new areas of England this year as part of measures to control bovine TB. It also announced a range of other proposed measures to deal with the disease in cattle and in non-bovine animals, as well as a number of new or improved resources for farmers.
Speaking on August 30, George Eustice, the minister for farming, said: ‘Our comprehensive strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England is delivering results, with more than half the country on track to be free of the disease by the end of this Parliament. Bovine TB has a devastating impact on farms, which is why we are taking strong action to eradicate the disease, including tighter cattle controls, improved biosecurity and badger control measures in areas where the disease is rife. The veterinary advice and the experience of other countries is clear – we will not be able to eradicate this disease unless we also tackle the reservoir of the disease in the badger population as well as cattle.’
Badger culling licences
The new badger culling licences cover areas of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and are in addition to existing licences for culling operations in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset. Culling operations under the existing licences in Gloucestershire and Somerset are entering their fourth year, while those in Dorset are entering their second year. Culling operations in all areas are carried out under four-year licences, which permit culling to take place between June 1 and January 31. Start dates for the culling activity are decided by the licensed companies.
Together with the announcement of the extension of badger culling operations, Defra published its advice to Natural England on setting the minimum and maximum numbers of badgers to be culled. The advice states …