Badger massacre postponed by ‘shambolic’ government
THE government came under fire for its “incompetent and shambolic” policy after a planned cull of badgers was postponed until next summer.
The pilot culls, which it is hoped will combat the spread of TB in cattle, were delayed after farmers said they may not be able to kill enough of the animals to make the scheme effective.
Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said farmers and taxpayers had been “left counting the cost” of the policy.
In a statement to MPs, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said culling had been delayed by the Olympics, legal proceedings and bad weather.
It had also emerged there were more badgers in the cull areas in Somerset and Gloucestershire than previously estimated, meaning that more would have to be killed to meet the 70% target needed for the programme towork.
He said the National Farmers Union (NFU) had written requesting that the culls be postponed but insisted the policy remained in place.
He said: “I remain fully committed to working with the farming industry to ensure that pilot culls can be delivered effectively, safely and humanely next summer.”
Ms Creagh labelled the move “another U-turn” adding: “Labour has warned the Government for two years the badger cull was bad for farmers, taxpayers and wildlife.
“The Government’s handling of the cull has been incompetent and shambolic. It is right that it has been delayed.”
She said Mr Paterson had been “yanked back” from a trip to promote British produce in France by the Prime Minister “who told him it was game over” for the cull.
Ms Creagh claimed the policy was “a terrible idea” but did not put forward and alternative policy.
Is it safe to come out now?