5,000 badgers on Government's slaughter list

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The Independent Online

More than 5,000 badgers will be slaughtered in the West Country after the Government approved licences for culls to commence in June this year.

The trial culls, in Gloucestershire and Somerset, were postponed last year after an outcry from scientists, animal welfare groups and the public.

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, said that culling was needed to tackle the spread of tuberculosis in cattle. Opponents of the cull say that vaccination of badgers and cattle as well as better biosecurity would be more effective.

Last year's postponement was blamed on poor weather and a miscount of the number of badgers in the trial areas; 70 per cent of the badgers in an area must be killed to fulfil the terms of the licences.