Plans to roll out the controversial badger cull pilots nationwide across England have been dropped by Owen Paterson, after a damning independent report found the shoots had not been sufficiently effective or humane.
The two pilot culls, in Gloucestershire and Somerset, will continue with improvements recommended by the independent expert panel (IEP), including more and better trained marksmen. But plans to start new badger culls in 10 other areas have been cancelled, the environment secretary announced on Thursday, telling MPs he was taking the "responsible approach".The Liberal Democrats website has a quote from the party's environment spokesperson Kate Parminter:
“The IEP report was clear, last summer’s culls were ineffective and in some rare cases, possibly inhumane.
“Liberal Democrats have argued consistently that further roll out, in light of these criticisms, would be unwise, until we have addressed the issues in the report. Today’s decision not to roll the culls out further is a victory for the Liberal Democrats and for good sense.
“Abandoning the current culls at this point would actually lead to an increase of the disease in the wildlife reservoir which is why it is important that the culls have not been abandoned altogether, but will continue with an adjusted methodology aimed to ensure that as they progress these two culls will be both humane and effective.
“It’s also great news that more money has been made available for vaccination projects, culling is only one element in the fight to control TB and Lib Dems have always strongly supported greater use of vaccination.”