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In its evidence to the Government?s Consultation on Addressing TB and Culling Badgers, the National Gamekeepers? Organisation (NGO) has suggested that some among the keepering community would be willing to help on a voluntary basis with a strategic cull for the sake of both the farming community and the welfare of the badger population.

Its submission states: We recommend that the public may have more sympathy with the concept of badger culling if made aware of the horrendous suffering of badgers in the wild when affected by this disease, often lasting for many months or even years.

The submission goes on to highlight the risk of attacks on those who wish to help to eradicate TB from wildlife. It refers to a concern, already circulating in the gamekeeping world, that anyone who gets involved in extensive, high-profile badger culling might be targeted by animal rights activists.

It suggests that more conspicuous control methods such as trapping and shooting are a potential magnet for animal rights activists as well as being impratical if a widespread containment of bovine TB is to be achieved. For these reasons, the NGO asks DEFRA to consider controlling badgers at the sett: We think culling within the badger setts needs to be looked at again, as it has many advantages if it can be done humanely.

The rest of this article appears in 22nd December issue of Shooting Times.

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