Pilot culls of badgers to start in summer
TWO pilot badger culls to tackle the spread of bovine TB will go ahead this summer.
Many farmers hope parts of North Devon will follow on if the Government believes the culls are successful.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson confirmed the culls areas in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset when he spoke at the National Farmers Union (NFU) annual conference.
He said a reserve pilot will also be prepared in Dorset in the event that unforeseen circumstances prevent one of the cull areas from being used.
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He told the conference: "Bovine TB is spreading at an alarming rate and causing real devastation to our beef and dairy industry.
"The authorisation letters issued recently are an important step towards the action we need to tackle the spread in wildlife.
"I am determined that there are no further delays this year.
"These pilot culls are just one part of our approach to control.
"We are using everything at our disposal to get to grips with TB including new tougher controls on moving cattle, increased herd testing and working to get effective vaccines ready as soon as possible."
The pilots will test the chosen method of culling through free shooting and be independently assessed to check the method is both effective and humane.