DORSET Wildlife Trust has condemned an application to begin badger culling in the county.

The charity said it is 'disappointed' to hear that a group of farmers have applied to Natural England for permission to cull in a bid to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) among cattle.

Although no decision has yet been made, if approved then culling could begin in the late summer or early autumn of this year.

Farmers in Devon and Cornwall have also applied for licences, the Echo understands.

If given the go-ahead the culling licences in the three counties will be in addition to a third year or culling in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) says it supports and promotes alternatives to culling and is currently carrying out a badger vaccination programme, now in its third year.

Chief executive of DWT, Dr Simon Cripps, said: “As an owner of a herd of cattle, Dorset Wildlife Trust is extremely sympathetic to the farmers whose cattle are affected by this devastating disease, but we urge the Government to consider the scientific evidence which indicates that the cull will not reduce Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.

"The problem could even be made worse as increasing the movement of potentially infected badgers into an area cleared of badgers could risk contact between them and uninfected cattle.”

A statement from the charity adds: 'DWT wants to see the eradication of the devastating disease Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) and understands the serious implications for farmers who lose stock as a result, but believes there are more effective and reliable ways of controlling the disease, such as better biosecurity, badger vaccination and, in the long term, cattle vaccination.'


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