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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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New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”