Tewkesbury Borough Council refuses to support badger cull on its land


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The Independent Online

A council close to an area where a badger cull is set to go ahead to tackle TB in cattle will not support culling on its land.

A majority of elected members at Tewkesbury Borough Council in Gloucestershire said they did not want to see the controversial measure used.

At a meeting of the council last night the councillors decided against passing a motion that would have backed the Government scheme.

The motion, which was put forward by the overview and scrutiny committee, said: "This council recognises that bovine TB is a terrible disease affecting a number of different animal species.

"This council agrees that bovine TB needs to be eradicated but that, until a viable, deployable and effective vaccine for both badgers and cattle is available, a cull should proceed."

But councillors did not vote on an earlier motion to "not allow badgers to be culled on land which Tewkesbury Borough Council owns, manages or controls".

Farmers in west Gloucestershire have been granted the first licence for a pilot cull of badgers, a protected species, in order to tackle tuberculosis in cattle.

The exact area of the cull has not been made public amid concerns over protests.

Last week, Forest of Dean District Council voted to ban any culling of badgers on land it controls.

Supporters of the cull say the move is necessary to stop TB in cattle because the wild animal spreads the disease to livestock, and the pilot will allow farmers to shoot up to 70% of badgers over an area of 300 square kilometres.

A long-term study found that culling over a number of years on a large scale could reduce the incidence of TB in cattle herds by 16%.

Opponents say a badger cull will not have a significant effect in reducing the disease in livestock, and want the focus to be shifted on to vaccination.

More than 140,000 people have signed a national e-petition against the cull.