When news happens get involved. Send your pictures, views and video to us by text and email
Chances of badger cull in Dorset rising, fears Dorset Wildlife Trust
A WILDLIFE charity chief says the likelihood of a badger cull in Dorset is increasing.
Simon Cripps, chief executive for Dorset Wildlife Trust, said if the cull collapsed in Gloucestershire, then Dorset – a reserve pilot area – would see badgers culled.
The controlled shooting of 5,000 badgers is due to take place in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset in an attempt to control Bovine TB in cattle.
A ‘Team Badger’ petition has attracted 263,000 signatures from people pledging their support against the government’s badger cull policy.
Mr Cripps said: “If the cull collapses in Gloucestershire there’s a greater likelihood of it coming to Dorset.
“It’s a waiting game now to see if they shoot in Gloucestershire and if that collapses.
“For the next round of shooting, Dorset would be top of the pile.
“It may be that we have one or two large estates in Gloucestershire where one or two participants may drop out, we might find the thing collapses. For the cull to happen, 70 per cent of the area must sign up and if we get a large landowner dropping out it will go below 70 per cent.”
Mr Cripps said that pressure was building on both sides and farmers were ‘fighting for their livelihood’.
He said the Dorset Wildlife Trust was calling for three things.
Mr Cripps said: “We continue to support alternative methods such as cattle vaccination, better bio security and badger vaccination.
“There is clearly a huge amount of public opinion against badger culling and we hope this petition will encourage the Government and the Dorset National Farmers Union (NFU) to re-evaluate their culling policies to reflect the overwhelming scientific evidence that culling badgers is not an effective means of control.”
Mr Cripps said he hoped ‘the NFU and the farmers themselves would be starting to take notice of public opinion and science’.
He added: “People have still got to sign up to the cull.”
Ian Johnson, spokesman for the National Farmers Union in Gloucestershire, said its cull would go ahead, with more than 70 per cent of farmers taking part.
In a statement, Defra said: “Natural England issued West Somerset and Gloucestershire with licences for the two badger cull pilots and these licences remain in place.”
e-PETITION ON ISSUE IS RECORD-BREAKER
THE badger cull e-petition, which has been signed and promoted by Dorset Wildlife Trust and other organisations, has broken the record for the largest numbers of signatories ever to sign a HM Government e-petition with 263,000 signatures.
Team Badger is a coalition of organisations that have teamed up to fight the planned cull of badgers, with Queen guitarist Brian May fronting their campaign.
Dorset Wildlife Trust believes that vaccination of cattle in the long term, and vaccination of badgers in the short term are a more effective means of controlling bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.
The trust is planning to start a badger vaccination programme in Dorset later this year.
Comments are closed on this article.