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British badgers granted stay of execution

Date: 24-Oct-12

Britain has delayed a plan to shoot thousands of badgers to stop the spread
of tuberculosis in cattle in the face of overwhelming public opposition to
the cull.

Critics of the cull, which was supported by farmers, said it would be
ineffective, not least because fleeing badgers would simply spread the
disease beyond the pilot areas in southwest England where it had been due to
begin shortly.

The debate is a sensitive one in Britain, where the mass slaughter of cattle
to control disease in livestock has left deep scars in farming communities
following outbreaks of other diseases over the past two decades.

Last year, 26,000 affected cattle were slaughtered and the disease cost
taxpayers 90 million pounds ($145 million), including compensation to

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said on Tuesday the delay had been due
to surveys showing a higher number of badgers than thought in the afflicted
areas. The opposition Labour party branded it a further example of
government ineptitude after several blunders this month.

"The farmers delivering this (culling) have concluded that they cannot be
confident that it will be possible to remove enough badgers based on these
higher numbers," Paterson told parliament..

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