Shooting badgers to be legal under plans for ‘big society cull’

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Tories say move will help farmers tackle bovine TB but police warn of illegal badger persecution

The row over badger culling has erupted again, with Labour describing government plans to allow farmers to shoot the animals on their land as the “big society badger cull”.

The government has yet to respond publicly to a Defra consultation on proposals for a cull in England, but ministers have given a heavy steer that they will approve plans to allow groups of volunteers to organise their own shooting expeditions to kill badgers in affected areas, after applying for a specific licence under the Protection of Badgers Act; they would also have to hold an appropriate firearms licence. The Tory minister in charge, Jim Paice, has described the culls as “free shooting”.

Theoretically, these culls could begin as early as this summer. Labour highlighted police warnings of the danger of badger hunts in areas with large numbers of the animals in the southwest – areas that also happen to be popular tourist destinations.

For more see The Guardian