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RSPB response to badger cull

Last modified: 19 July 2011

Badger emerging from sett

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman today (July 19) outlined the Government's plans for tackling bovine TB through a cull of badgers in the south-west of England.

RSPB conservation director Martin Harper said: 'Bovine TB is a very real and devastating issue for many farmers and it is vital we find an effective long term measure to eradicate this disease.

'We therefore welcome the Government's announcements on improving cattle testing, movement controls and biosecurity. However, the most reliable scientific evidence suggests badger culling is a short-term and unsustainable approach.

'Allowing the shooting of free-ranging badgers in hot spot areas is an untested and dangerous move. It has no place in a science-led policy. Rather than solving the problem, it risks making matters worse by disrupting their social structures leading them to spread into new areas. We will not be culling badgers on our nature reserves.

'Licensing the shooting of one of our best loved native species is likely to generate considerable public opposition.

'A more sustainable approach to the problem should involve pushing forward with the injectable vaccination of badgers in areas in the South West and stepping up efforts to develop a vaccine for cattle.

'Vaccination of both badgers and cattle, together with enhanced cattle testing and improved biosecurity measures, is the publicly acceptable, long-term solution.'

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