Conservative MP and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson
(who recently walked out in the middle of a debate on the proposed culls muttering "I can't stand any more of this"
) has today announced in the House of Commons
that the two proposed pilot culls of badgers in the West Country to attempt to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis are to be ‘postponed’ by twelve months. Mr Paterson said the cull will have to be delayed because farmers are ‘not ready’ and the cull had been delayed by the Olympics and Paralympics because not enough police were available to manage protests until after the events had finished.
Earlier this month, Queen guitarist and animal welfare campaigner Dr Brian May travelled to Brussels to hold meetings with UK MEPs and with agriculture and environment officials from the European Commission
. Dr May does not think killing badgers – which are a ‘protected species’ - is the best solution: “Badgers are not the cause of Bovine TB [they] have caught TB because it came in with the cattle [...] it is a very serious problem but let’s look at it in cows because it has to be solved in cows; it cannot be solved by killing badgers.
South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling
has expressed her desire to see the culls go ahead
and refuted suggestions that Brussels could prevent the cull
Positive reaction to the news came from Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson
, who tweeted:
Animal rights groups and campaigners have meanwhile welcomed the ‘temporary reprieve’ and say the battle will continue to prevent the cull happening in twelve months’ time.