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Northern Ireland considering culling badgers
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£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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Labour Party makes a pledge to end the badger cull

Labour MP Maria Eagle has promised the controversial badger cull will end if her party is voted in at the next election.

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, the MP for Garston and Halewood said: "A Labour government will tackle the scourge of bovine TB, but not by using a policy dubbed 'an epic failure' by the chief scientific advisor of Natural England.

"Conference, I want to make it clear today. We will put a stop to these inhumane, ineffective badger culls."

The second year of badger culling officially began in Somerset and Gloucestershire earlier this month.