Badger cull cost already in excess of £1 million
PREPARATORY work for the pilot badger culls has cost more than £1.1 million so far, Defra Minister Lord De Mauley has revealed.
Responding to a question in the House of Lords on Tuesday, Lord De Mauley said £750,000 was spent on surveying costs, £300,000 on Natural England’s costs and approximately £95,000 as part of ‘humaneness monitoring’ before the culls were postponed this autumn. He said a ‘large proportion’ of these costs were borne by farmers.
Lord De Mauley confirmed that the Government intends to push ahead with culling in two pilot areas next summer but said ‘it is for the National Farmers’ Union to decide where it wants to conduct pilots’.
He said: “Natural England issued West Somerset and Gloucestershire with licences for the two badger cull pilots and these licences remain valid for the duration of the cull next summer. We are working with the farming industry so that badger control in two pilot areas can be implemented effectively in 2013 in the best possible conditions and with the right resources.”
Last week, NFU president Peter Kendall told Farmers Guardian there was no guarantee the same two pilot areas would be chosen next year, as he wanted to ensure the ‘best areas’ were selected to give the policy the maximum chance of success.
A number of peers called on the Government to abandon the pilots.
Scientist Lord Krebs, who recommended the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, called on the Government to ‘review all the options for controlling TB in badgers’ between now and next summer ‘bearing in mind that not even the most optimistic proponent of culling would consider it a credible strategy for the eradication of this dreadful disease’.
Lord De Mauley said Defra was ‘constantly reviewing the options’, including ‘working hard on a vaccination’, with a ‘number of other measures in progress’.