Defra quashes badger cull start speculation
Published:  22 August, 2013

Speculation that the badger cull is due to start on Monday, 26 August, has been quashed by the government.

A Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokeswoman told MeatInfo.co.uk that speculation around the start date of the proposed badger cull was not correct.

She said Defra did not recognise the claims and it was not for Defra to say when the culls were to start. She added that only the cull companies could say when the culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire were due to begin.

“The start date for the pilot badger culls is a decision for the cull companies. It is not for Defra to confirm or deny speculation about dates,” the spokeswoman said.

The badger cull was granted permission to go ahead earlier this year to help control bovine TB (bTB). In recent years rates of bTB have increased and around 28,000 cattle were slaughtered in 2012 at a cost of £100m to the tax-payer.

However, the cull has come under fierce fire from protestors. As a result, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has applied for an injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, which will be heard in court today.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “We have applied for the injunction in response to various incidents of harassment and intimidation carried out against farmers and landowners by activists opposed to the badger cull. The application was made against a number of defendants and we hope that the High Court will hear our application shortly.”