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Badger cull postponed until next summer
Announcement made to the House of Commons

It has been announced today (23 October) that the badger cull is to be delayed until next year by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) secretary Owen Paterson.

The government's aim was to cull several thousand badgers over a period of six years, in order to help control bovine tuberculosis (bTB), which is spread by the wild animals.

There have been numerous protests and legal battles against the cull, planned for pilot this autumn in Gloucestershire and Somerset, including an e-petition that attracted more than 160,000 signatures.

Mr Paterson said this is not the best time of year to go ahead and, in a statement to the House of Commons, said that the cull should have started earlier this summer, but had been delayed due to Olympics, Paralympics and then bad weather.

Government data shows that if more than 70 per cent of badgers in an area are eradicated, the disease could be slowed slightly, however, less than 70 per cent could cause an increase in bTB.

Mr Paterson said: "It would be wrong to go ahead if those on the ground cannot be confident of removing at least 70 per cent of the population."

He added: "By starting the pilots next summer, we can build on the work that's already been done and ensure that the cull will conform to the scientific criteria and the evidence base."

Numerous organisations, including the BVA, and National Farmers Union (NFU) and RSPCA have backed the decision to postpone the cull; however, whilst some welcome the fact that there has not been a u-turn on the policy, others say this must not be a temporary reprieve - but must mark an end to the plans.

Click here to read the statement.

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Waterfowl sites in Essex given greater protection

News Story 1
 Two important sites for waterfowl in Essex have been given the strongest possible environmental protection, Defra has announced.

Allfleet’s Marsh and Brandy Hole, which are part of the Crouch and Roach estuaries, are now Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). They were also designated Ramsar wetland of international importance.

Both sites provide suitable habitat for internationally important wintering water birds, including dark-bellied brent geese, lapwing, shoveler and golden plover, among many waterfowl species.

Image by Ian Kirk, Broadstone, Dorset/Commons Wikimedia/CC BY 2.0 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New Animal Medicines Best Practice Programme launched

A new Animal Medicines Best Practice Programme (AMBP) has been launched by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) to enable a coordinated and consistent approach to farmer training in the responsible use of antibiotics.

The programme comes in response to demand from the food supply chain for appropriate training. It provides materials for vets and farmers alike that satisfy farm assurance requirements such as the Red Tractor recommendations.

The new training is available via the NOAH website or through the online eLearning platform Lantra .