A-listers sign up to stop badger cull

A herd of red carpet stars have signed up to ‘Save England’s Badgers’ from the badger cull.

The group of ‘A-listers’, including actors Sir Roger Moore, Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley, have sent a joint statement to the government, asking it to reconsider the badger cull in favour of “humane and effective solutions” to tackle bovine TB (bTB).

“We, the undersigned, ask the government to stop the badger cull and to implement instead the more sustainable and humane solution of vaccination, improved testing and better biosecurity,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, two six-week pilot culls are due to go ahead in West Somerset and West Gloucester. If the culls are successful, they will be rolled out to other parts of the country.

Earlier this week the government announced new measures to stop the spread of bTB in the so-called ‘edge’ areas of the UK, as it feared the disease could spread northwards.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the measures, which would include more support for targeted badger vaccination and increased skin testing, would be introduced this October.

Farming Minister David Heath announced the measures and said: “We are taking tough and decisive action on TB at the frontier of this disease to stop and then reverse the spread. We must do everything we can to crack down on what is the biggest animal disease threat facing the nation.”

However, action is not coming quickly enough for the celebrities signed up to Save England’s Badgers. Rock star Brian May said: “We urge David Cameron to take positive action to accelerate progress towards vaccination of wildlife and, most importantly, vaccination of the source of bTB in this country, cattle, along with full review of the skin test method of removing supposed reactive animals from herds, and an overhaul of biosecurity and movement control measures.”