Hundreds march in Gloucester against badger cull

Anti-cull march About 500 people demonstrated against the continuing badger cull in Gloucestershire

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Hundreds of people have been protesting against badger culling in Gloucestershire.

About 500 people joined the Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting demonstration in Gloucester city centre.

Pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset were aimed at limiting the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Earlier this month Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the pilots would continue.

'Recipe for disaster'

Organiser Carol Cook said the number of people who turned out to demonstrate shows "it is not acceptable for an industry to be killing our wildlife".

She said they were "sympathetic" towards farmers, but added that the "industry needs to look at its own practices" and improve "bio-security in the farmyards themselves" to stop the spread of the disease.

"It isn't us against the farmers at all - everyone can work together to stop this awful disease," she said.

Badger photo Culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset will continue but will not be rolled out to the rest of the country

Conservationist Ian Redmond said most badgers do not have the disease and culling is a "recipe for disaster, not for curing the disease".

However, Andrew Cozens, who owns a dairy farm near Stroud, said farmers were "at the sharp end and are losing cattle".

He said bovine TB was costing the country £100m a year and "we cannot afford to go on losing that amount of money".

He said famers were calling for the government to stop "pussyfooting around the disease".

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has stated that it can only support further pilot culls if effectiveness and humaneness improved and if there are independent monitors.

However, the BVA said it was also concerned that if culling in the pilot areas stops now there could be an increased risk of TB in cattle.

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