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No-cull badger policy 'deficient'

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23 July 2008 - BBC News

The decision not to cull badgers in England to control the spread of bovine TB is flawed in the short-term, an MPs' report has said. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee accuses the government of "playing down the seriousness of the nature of cattle TB".

Ministers decided two weeks ago against introducing a mass cull policy. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said that on balance he thought a cull was impractical and publicly unacceptable. Instead, he said the disease should be controlled through better surveillance and biosecurity and stated there would be more money for the development of a vaccine.

The EFRA Select Committee report concludes that: "There is little in the government's strategy, beyond the current policy of surveillance, testing and slaughter, to tackle the disease in the short-term." The committee recommended earlier this year that the government should adopt a multi-faceted approach to tackling the spread of TB in cattle. The committee felt that badger culling could make a contribution under certain well-defined circumstances.

... The select committee does applaud the government for prioritising vaccine development, however it states that vaccines are a "long-term solution". ...

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