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Tory MP calls for ‘all wild animals’ to be culled

The MP also raised the case of ‘a beaver being released illegally… in west Dorset’

Claudia Savage
PA
Tuesday 05 March 2024 05:19 GMT
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Moment George Galloway sworn in as new Rochdale MP in Parliament

A Conservative MP has called for all wild animals to be culled.

Richard Drax (South Dorset) dismissed calls by animal rights activists and conservation groups to end the badger cull and instead suggested more animals, such as deer and foxes, should also be culled.

Mr Drax had earlier raised the case of “a beaver being released illegally… in west Dorset”.

According to the Badger Trust, more than 210,000 badgers have been killed since the cull began in England in 2013 in an effort to tackle bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Mr Drax said TB was a “major problem” in the South West, telling a Commons debate on farming: “Culling has proved to work, and can I suggest that rather than talking about stopping culling on badgers and to introduce some other form, that all wild animals have to be culled.

“Because if they don’t their health deteriorates. They don’t have any predators in today’s world. Foxes, deer, badgers. We don’t want to wipe them out, we just simply want them controlled.

“This is just pure common sense.”

A beaver swims in a pond in west London after being released into a reserve (Getty Images)

He said: “There is no sense, in our view, in reintroducing beavers into small chalk streams, or any other form of stream in Dorset. Beavers dam rivers, they would then be protected no doubt by every organisation that would want it protected, farmland then floods.

“Beavers don’t hang around and say ‘this is my home’, as has been proved in Scotland – they breed and move elsewhere and do the same in other rivers. And, as I understand it, in Scotland they’ve had to be culled because they’ve broken out of the area that was initially given to them.

“Can the Government please look at not only the illegal releasing of beavers into rivers – if indeed this is the case and that hasn’t been proven as yet – but certainly to the legal release and this emphasis on rewilding which, while we all want to see wild animals, there is a proper place and location for each of the various species.”

It comes as beavers are to make a comeback in London for the first time since they were hunted to extinction 400 years ago.

The beavers will be released in Ealing’s Paradise Fields, an eight-hectare site of woodland and wetlands minutes from Greenford Tube station.

At least one male and one female beaver will be released as part of the project, which is designed to protect against urban flooding and create diverse wetland habitats.

The project will mark the first time beavers have been introduced to an urban area in the UK.

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