Published: August 28, 2013
Badger cull attacked by wildlife carers from the Burnham-On-Sea area

Wildlife carers in the Burnham-On-Sea area say they are "hugely saddened" by the start of a controversial badger cull in Somerset.

About 5,000 badgers are expected to be killed in controlled shootings over six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Supporters say the cull is necessary to tackle bovine TB, which can be spread from infected badgers, but opponents say it is inhumane and ineffective.

Secret World founder Pauline Kidner, right, told "It is with great sadness that Secret World, one of the largest badger cub rearing units in the country, has learnt that that badger cull has started in Somerset."

"This cull being held in an area with hardly any cattle is merely an experiment as shooting practise to see if badgers can be shot humane, effectively and efficiently."

"As a leading rescue centre, Secret World knows from road traffic accidents that badgers will always make their way back to their setts if injured. This is why the humanness can never be truly assessed as many injured will die underground."

People campaigning against the badger cull said they believe the location of the first badger cull was at Carhampton, between Dunster and Watchet, but the authorities responsible for the cull have not revealed the exact location.

In a letter to members, National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall said: "This is an important step not just for cattle farmers but for the whole farming industry."

"I know that many of you reading this will have suffered the misery of dealing with TB on farm - some of you for decades - and I hope now you will feel that something is finally being done to stem the cycle of infection between cattle and badgers."

He added that he hoped the culls would show a reduction in TB in cattle, and that more people would understand why they were "absolutely necessary".

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the infection needed to be dealt with in both badgers and cattle.

"We have to use every tool in the box because TB is so difficult to eradicate and it is spreading rapidly," he said. "If we had a workable vaccine we would use it... a vaccine is at least 10 years off."

Mr Paterson denied suggestions from anti-cull campaigners that the government was simply trying to appease the farming community.


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