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Farmers unite in anger against badger reprieve

[Tuesday 08 July 2008]

THE Government decision not to go ahead with a massive cull of the badger population in an attempt to slow the spread of TB in cattle has united in anger all three of England’s main farming bodies.

The NFU, the CLA and the Tenant Framers’ Association have all attacked the decision by Defra Secretary Hilary Benn with different levels of venom – but the TFA came out with a particularly vitriolic assault.

Said association chairman Greg Bliss:"The decision not to tackle the problem of TB in badgers appears to have been made as a spineless attempt to stop an unpopular Government's ratings from declining further in the eyes of the public.

“However, in so doing, this Government, as in so many other ways, has turned its back on hard-working families. I represent those in the farming community who do not own the land they farm or the houses they live in. Their livelihood is tied up in their livestock and it seems to us that the Government cares not a jot if they lose this livelihood because they lose their animals to TB”.

Despite this united front, there are still doubts whether badgers are responsible for spreading bovine TB. The RSPCA says it is the other way round – cattle infect the badgers – and two scientific studies commission by Defra came up with diametrically opposed conclusions: one said a badger cull would halt the spread, the second said it could even make matters worse.

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