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Northern Ireland considering culling badgers
£4 million research programme to be commissioned

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has responded to recent criticism from the Ulster Farmer's Union (UFU) of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (DARD) policy on badger culling as a means of countering the spread of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) by confirming that controlling the disease is a 'key priority'.

Ms O'Neill stated that “We are investing around £4million to commission a programme of TB and wildlife research and studies towards the ultimate aim of eradicating TB in cattle. We will use the evidence produced by this programme to inform a comprehensive approach that deals with all aspects of TB and will help to reduce the level of disease in cattle.”

“We already have a rigorous EU Commission approved eradication programme in place. We also need to build a sound evidence base to underpin further interventions in cattle and/or wildlife that could help to reduce TB as part of our eradication programme.” the Minister added.

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New approach to newt conservation in Woking

News Story 1
 Habitats for great crested newts will be enhanced or created by Woking Borough Council prior to any development taking place. This will join up existing populations, making them healthier and more resilient.

A new organisational licence for the council will allow it to authorise operations that may affect great crested newts on development of sites. For more information see Natural England's website

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Rainer Theuer  

News Shorts
New DNA testing scheme for Welsh terriers approved

A new DNA test for Primary Lens Luxation in the Welsh Terrier has been approved by the Kennel Club following consultation with breed clubs.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said: "Primary Lens Luxation is an inherited eye condition which can be painful and lead to blindness, so we are pleased to be announcing this new DNA test for Welsh terriers.

"This will help breeders make informed decisions when it comes to breeding, enable potential puppy buyers to be aware of issues which could affect their chosen breed, and ultimately protect and maintain the health of the breed."