Badgers in Warwickshire escape cull expansion - The Leamington Observer

Badgers in Warwickshire escape cull expansion

BADGERS in Warwickshire have escaped government’s cull expansion across the UK.

The county was considered as part of an expansion in a bid to put a stop to the spread of TB in cattle.

But Warwickshire badgers will not be targeted by shooters after government announced it would not be extending the cull to the county.

The news has been welcomed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust reserve director Karl Curtis, but he said the county must remain vigilant against future applications.

He told the Observer: “While we escaped the cull this time we are not immune to further applications for cull licenses in Warwickshire and will keep our ear to the ground for any future expansions or consultations.

“With culls causing increased movement of badgers and bringing new badgers into areas where there has been culling, it raises the risk of spreading the TB infection over a wider area.

“With culls happening in neighbouring counties of Gloucestershire and Staffordshire there is a risk of this behaviour affecting badgers in our area.”

Warwickshire badgers escaped following a consultation, in which the public was asked a number of questions.

But he said he is not sure why the county was not chosen.

Mr Curtis added: “We aren’t aware of the reasons why Warwickshire was not included in the cull expansion or if it was due to our response to the consultation.

“The consultation had a narrow focus and asked whether a cull in Warwickshire could affect our livelihood and daily operation rather than if local people or organisations were opposed to the cull or the science behind it.”

The trust is continuing to promote vaccination to tackle the disease, which it says is transmitted directly from badgers in just one in 20 cases.

The wildlife trust network has opposed badger culling for more than a decade and is campaigning for widespread badger vaccination schemes to replace culling, as well as developing a cattle vaccine.

Trust spokeswoman Ellie Brodie added: “We’re calling on the government to invest in medicine, not marksmen. The costs of killing badgers are much higher than vaccinating them – it costs nearly £500 to kill a badger compared with £82 to vaccinate.”

Regions affected by the cull expansion include Cumbria along with existing areas in Somerset, Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, Herefordshire, Cheshire and Wiltshire.

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