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Boris Johnson backs badger cull – but campaigners call for an earlier stop

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Boris Johnson today supported an end to the culling of badgers which resulted in the deaths of more than 140,000 animals.

Experts accuse the creatures of spreading bovine tuberculosis in the countryside.

Some 140,830 badgers have been culled since 2013 in an attempt to fight infections, including 38,642 last year.

Activists fear that another 140,000 people will be killed before the slaughter is stopped.

The Ministry of the Environment hopes to have a jab for cows by 2025 and eradicate TB by 2035.

Speaking during the Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson told MPs: We believe the culling of the badger has led to a reduction in the disease, but no one wants to continue the culling of a protected species of beautiful indefinitely. mammals.



Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to MPs via video link from Checkers, where he is self-isolating
(Image: PA)

I think it’s a good thing that we are speeding up other parts of our strategy, particularly immunization.

I think that’s the right way to go and I think we should start, if we can, phase out badger culling in this country.

The Mirror explained this month how trials are underway for a skin test and a vaccine for cattle that could finally end the controversial slaughter.

A pilot project which conservationists say will save tens of thousands of badgers each year has started on a farm in Hertfordshire.



Tens of thousands of cows are slaughtered every year because of bovine tuberculosis
(Image: Getty Images)

More than 27,000 cattle in England were slaughtered last year to fight the disease.

Badger Trust Chief Executive Dawn Varley said: While it’s great to hear Boris recognize the beauty of this iconic and generally protected species, we have to say that it seems a world far removed from the reality of the ongoing cull which has so far killed 140,000 badgers. , and which we believe will kill another 140,000 by 2025.

We have seen little evidence of meaningful commitment to a national badger vaccination strategy.

What we really need here is a “Boris Special,” a U-turn with canceled plans to continue the senseless badger slaughter for years to come.



Badgers have been targeted in slaughtering since 2013
(Image: Annelisa Davison / Gardenwatch)

Dominic Dyer, Born Free Foundation Wildlife Advocate, said: The Prime Minister has made it clear to Defra’s Secretary of State and Defra’s Chief Veterinarian that he wants to end the badger culling policy in favor of the vaccination of badgers and cattle against bovine tuberculosis.

His statement in the House of Commons today reinforces that position, but it now dramatically increases the pressure on ministers and Defra officials to end the slaughter of badgers under a slaughter license more quickly. which could result in the culling of 100,000 more badgers by the date. of the next election.

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