Somerset

Badger-gassing Somerset dairy farmers fined

Two dairy farmers have been fined after admitting blocking badger setts on their farm and attempting to gas the animals with their car's exhaust fumes.

David Bown, 67, of Shepton Mallet, Somerset, and his son Philip, 38, of Bruton, Somerset, were fined £1,370 each at Yeovil Magistrates' Court.

They admitted blocking 17 entrances to a sett on Batcombe Vale Farm.

The pair said they feared an infected badger would pass TB to their herd and damage their business.

'Cruel and inhumane'

The RSPCA was alerted to the situation in April after reports from a member of the public about the men behaving suspiciously.

The police, an RSPCA inspector and ecological experts examined the badger sett area and found clear evidence of badgers living there.

They also discovered 17 of the sett entrances blocked, many with spade marks visible and car tracks running to and from the area.

Inspector Burns said: "We are of course very sympathetic to all farmers dealing with bovine TB in their cattle, but attempting to kill badgers, especially in this cruel and inhumane way, is simply not the answer."

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