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From the editor: Derbyshire TB decision leaves the door open to doubt

Battling the crippling effects of bovine TB is an issue which has vexed the farming industry for decades, with the resultant political inaction leading to the destruction of millions of cattle and, most likely, innumerable farm businesses.

That is why the decision to roll the badger cull out to a further 11 areas of England must be welcomed.

 

Farmers in existing cull zones are convinced the policy is driving down incidence of bTB and the roll out will give new areas hope there is a resolve within Government to make tough, science-led decisions to rid the country of this indiscriminate disease.

 

The breadth of the roll out will, however, haunt those farmers and cull organisers in Derbyshire who have seen their plans scuppered just days before the official start of the programme.

 

National media reports allege Boris Johnson’s partner, vegan environmentalist Carrie Symonds, was ‘delighted’ the Derbyshire cull had been postponed.

 

Having allegedly met with Badger Trust chief executive Dominic Dyer, it is unclear whether Ms Symonds had any sway on the decision, but it is a bad piece of timing for the harassed Mr Johnson and his Government.

 

Yet such is the emotive nature of the cull that any Government looking to continue the policy will have to be steadfast in its views and ignore what could be a growing public protest against it.


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In a society increasingly detached from the realities of agriculture, there will be increasing conjecture and often fake outrage about the role of such schemes.

 

But the reality is bTB continues to ravage many areas of England and Wales and there needs to be a coherent strategy in place to tackle it.

 

Many farmers in Wales feel betrayed by the Welsh Government’s vaccination strategy and that divergence of policy, when compared to England, is leaving many at breaking point.

 

The roll out in England will provide hope the Government is committed to tackling the disease, but there is always doubt and that will not go away following the baffling decision in Derbyshire.

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