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Farmers' anger on cull rejection

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04 July 2008 - BBC News

By Tom Warren BBC News, England

England's farming community has reacted angrily over an expected government decision to reject a badger cull to control TB. Many farmers claim badgers are responsible for spreading the highly infectious disease among cattle, costing the industry millions of pounds every year. The National Farmers' Union (NFU) said it would fight the government in the courts over the decision.

...Charles Sandells is a dairy farmer from Shropshire who keeps a small herd of 100 cattle on the edge of Shrewsbury. After two of his cows tested positive for the disease in December last year, he was unable to move any of the animals until last month due to strict TB restrictions. "It means you can't sell any livestock and if you haven't got enough silage you have to buy it in," the 31-year-old said. "We're only a small farm and it's cost us about 5,000. We've got about three badger sets on our farm and they're right in the middle of the grazing ground. We don't want to lose badgers altogether, but they have got to be controlled. [TB] is only going to spread further into wildlife."

... But The Badger Trust said rejecting a cull was the right decision. It believes attention should be focused on cattle as "the main agents of the disease".

... While the RSPCA has also welcomed the government's expected decision not to embark on a cull. "This would be the right decision based on compelling evidence," said Dr Rob Atkinson, the charity's head of wildlife science. ...

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