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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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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”