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Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and NFU comment on a badger cull licence being granted in county

A Government decision to grant a licence to cull badgers in Lincolnshire has been branded ‘disappointing’ by wildlife groups.

Lincolnshire is one of 11 additional areas along with Leicesteshire to be issued with licences by Natural England, which has also re-authorising licences for 33 areas of the country where culling has already taken place in previous years.

Bovine TB remains the greatest animal health threat that England faces today, with more than 30,000 cattle slaughtered each year due to infection.

European badger (Meles meles), cubs foraging in daylight, England, UK. Photo: Elliott Neep (41158783)
European badger (Meles meles), cubs foraging in daylight, England, UK. Photo: Elliott Neep (41158783)

Earlier this year, the Government said that the next phase of its strategy to tackle bovine tuberculosis will involve field trials of a cattle vaccine, with work accelerated to deploy it within the next five years.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has been campaigning against proposals to expand the badger cull.

Head of Conservation, Tammy Smalley said: “This is a staggering and deeply disappointing decision from the government which will result in many healthy badgers dying across the UK’s countryside this autumn.”

NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said the impact of bovine TB devastates farming families with generations of cattle slaughtered. he also said that the NFU supports the Government’s 25-year eradication strategy.

He said: “The chief vet has said that proactive badger culling is currently the best available option to tackle this disease and there is clear evidence that badger culling is working. Peer-reviewed research into the effectiveness of the badger cull showed reductions in new cattle TB breakdowns of 66% in Gloucestershire and 37% in Somerset, delivering clear results.”

“The government has said that, in certain exceptional circumstances, it believes culling in the Low Risk Area is one way of helping ensure bovine TB is contained and eradicated in an area where the disease has been identified in wildlife.

“It is vital this is done in conjunction with all necessary cattle measures and that farmers in the Low Risk Area do everything they can to minimise the risk of bringing the disease onto their farms.”

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