Ministers to back badger cull

The goverment is on the verge of recommending a badge cull in a bid to combat bovine TB, according to reports.

The Financial Times (FT) says today that David Cameron will give his backing to a ‘limited cull’ on Thursday when it is presented to him by environment secretary Caroline Spelman.

The decision comes after scientists have consluded that a cull of hundreds of the creatures would lead to a 16% reduction in cattle infections.

However, a similar cull in Wales has been put on ice pending a further review.

The FT states that Bob Watson, chief scientific adviser at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and Nigel Gibbens, the chief vet have claimed the cull’s success would be dependent on the a range of conditions being met.

The scientists are reported to have warned: “If culling is not conducted in a co-ordinated, sustained and simultaneous manner according to the minimum criteris, then this could result in a smaller benefit or even a detrimental effect.”

Culling is likely to be introduced in a phased approach, with just one or two areas sanctioned initially and it is believed that such a move would organised and paid for by groups of farmers in TB affected areas.

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