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Mass protest at slaughter of badgers

This is London - 8th January 2001

Animal rights campaigners are taking to the streets throughout the UK to protest against the killing of thousands of badgers blamed for infecting cattle.

The National Federation of Badger Groups (NFBG) says the Government is using the badgers as a scapegoat to avoid the issue of improving cattle welfare.

The campaign group says as many as 20,000 badgers are being killed in an "experiment to prove they give bovine TB to cattle''.

But the group says: "The experiment is nothing more than another delaying tactic, fending off the day when government and farmers have to recognise that improving cattle welfare is more likely to solve this persistent problem.''

Dr Elaine King, conservation officer for the NFBG added: "Members of the National Federation of Badger Groups are not opposed to farmers or farming.

"We oppose the Ministry of Agriculture's failure to address this problem in an intelligent and sustainable way.

"Farmers themselves tell us that slaughtering wildlife is harming the public's perception of their industry. We are not the only ones who want a solution here, farmers want it too.''

The NFBG is recommending a vaccine for cattle; a more reliable diagnostic blood test for TB in cattle and research into the transmission and epidemiology of the disease.

It also wants research into other factors leading to TB in cattle, and an investigation into cattle husbandry and farming practices which increase the risk of infection.

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