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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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Less than a month to sign hedgehog petition

News Story 1
 Over 43,000 people have signed an online petition to make hedgehogs a protected species. Oliver Colvile MP, who launched the petition, has also received more than 3,000 paper signatures. But the petition closes in less than a month and it needs 100,000 signatures to be debated in parliament.

Hedgehog numbers have fallen by a third in urban areas and 50 per cent in rural areas since 2000. Mr Colvile said: "Their numbers are in serious decline and it is our responsibility and duty to help reverse that in any way we can." To sign the petition, visit: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/121264  

News Shorts
Outcomes of banned substances cases

Equestrian athlete Matthias Klausener and horse Dendros have been provisionally suspended by the FEI, after samples taken from Dendros tested positive for the banned substance Demecolcine at a competitive event in Somma Lombardo.

FEI also revealed the outcomes of two other cases. It has imposed a two-year suspension on Uruguayan athlete Fernanda Villar, after samples taken from the horse LG Muneerah tested positive for sedative Guanabenz.

A two-year suspension was imposed on Iranian athlete Mohammed Davoud Shekofti, after samples from the horse Sir de Diamant tested positive for banned substance Stanozol and its metabolite 16 Beta Hydroxy-Stanozol, and controlled medication substances Flunixin and Dexamethasone.