CULLED OFF!

Badger mas­sacre post­poned by ‘sham­bolic’ gov­ern­ment

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By SI­MON DEAN

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?

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