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South-West Farmers support a badger cull

10 March 2006 - BBC News

More than 90% of South West farmers support the idea of a badger cull as a way of controlling bovine TB, according to a survey. The research was carried out by the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association. The result showed 94% in favour of a cull, although less than 50% said they would be willing to take part in the actual culling of the animals.

Badger groups deny the creatures are responsible for bovine TB. The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has admitted TB in cattle is one of its biggest problems. The government said more measures were necessary to stop the increase of the disease and it has been carrying out a three month long public consultation on whether to introduce badger culling. That consultation period ends on Friday.

Opposition to the consultation has been submitted in writing to the government by some environmental and wildlife groups in the region, stating a cull of badgers made "no scientific or economic sense".

In January, the West Country Badger Action Group said it would take whatever action it felt was necessary to save the animals if a cull was introduced.

The South West is one of the worst-affected areas for bovine TB. In Devon, 1,144 farms were put under restrictions at some point because of positive TB tests between January and November 2005. That is almost 20% of the county's cattle farms. In Cornwall, the figure was 635.

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