England

Badger cull in England extended to 40 areas

A badger Image copyright PA
Image caption The cull will now take place in 40 areas

Eleven new badger culling areas have been approved by Natural England as part of government efforts to control tuberculosis in cattle,

Natural England has also authorised licence holders to resume operations in 29 existing areas.

Culls will go ahead in new areas around Bristol, Cheshire, Devon, Cornwall, Staffordshire, Dorset, Herefordshire and Wiltshire.

Those opposed to the cull say the practice is "ineffective and inhumane".

'Immense pain'

Farming minister George Eustice said: "Bovine TB remains the greatest animal health threat to the UK, costing taxpayers over £100m every year as well as causing devastation and distress for hard-working farmers and rural communities.

"There is no single measure that will provide an answer to beating this disease.

"That is why we have always been committed to a multi-pronged approach including proactive badger control, as well as other tools such as tighter cattle controls, improved biosecurity and badger vaccination."

Badger culling

Number of badgers licensed to be culled by area

Source: Natural England

Earlier this week former government adviser Professor Ranald Munr said up to 9,000 badgers are likely to have suffered "immense pain" in culls.

Prof Munr is the ex-Chair of an independent expert group appointed by the government to assess culling trials.

He has written to Natural England to say that the policy is causing "huge suffering".

He added the culls are not reducing TB in cattle and in one area the incidence of the disease has gone up.

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