The Daily Telegraph

Farmers can kill beavers as last resort to control behaviour

- By James Moules

BEAVERS can be killed as a last resort by farmers if they pose a threat to land management, the Government has announced.

Lethal force has been declared as a possible solution in a five-step plan to control the animals’ behaviour revealed by the Department for Environmen­t, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

It comes with the announceme­nt that Eurasian beavers will become a European protected species in England on October 1. This means beavers will be legally protected from harm in places where they breed and shelter – and certain management actions will require a licence.

The use of lethal force is expected to be a last resort when alternativ­es such as trapping and relocating have been exhausted.

The beaver control plan has been met with criticism by some farmers that they were not fully consulted.

An NFU spokesman said: “Despite the Government publishing more informatio­n on the management and licensing of beavers in England, the NFU is disappoint­ed this has been done without wider consultati­on. We would like to see the Government further engage with farmers and landowners before it finalises the national approach to the wild release of beavers.”

A Defra spokesman said the NFU had been given the opportunit­y to contribute views and issue responses throughout the consultati­on period.

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