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Calls made for badger cull U-turn

20 September 2008 - BBC News

Animal campaigners have gathered across Wales in a series of protests to force the assembly government to rule out its planned badger cull. Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (Viva) claim the plan is a "misguided attempt" to control bovine TB and want people to join their cause.

Supporters of the animal group took to the streets from noon on Saturday in Bridgend, Cardiff, Haverfordwest, Lampeter, Llandysul, Porthmadog, Swansea, Wrexham and across the border in Oswestry. Protesters asked members of the public to sign a petition asking AMs to reject the government's cull which is part of its TB Eradication Programme.

The major alternative to a cull is the vaccination of both cattle and badgers against TB, which Viva backs.

Viva claim the real reason behind the cull, which it has labelled a "proposed massacre", is pressure from the meat and dairy industries. Campaigns manager Justin Kerswell said: "Badgers are scapegoats for bad farming practices and government failure. In their eagerness to blame anyone but themselves for the bovine TB epidemic, Welsh farmers and politicians are targeting wildlife when they should be looking closer to home. A cull of badgers in Wales will decimate wildlife, cost a huge amount of taxpayers' money and achieve nothing."

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