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Last edited on: 27:08:2013

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Bovine TB: Peter Kendall's letter to members

Dear NFU member,

I am writing to let you know that the first pilot badger control operations have begun. 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.

Peter Kendall

We cannot go on culling tens of thousands of cattle every year because of TB while knowing the disease exists in wildlife uncontrolled.

It is why the NFU will be working with the pilot companies to ensure the successful delivery of these pilot culls over the coming weeks.

Badger control remains a controversial subject and we understand that some people will never agree with controlling badgers in this way.

I am confident however that through the combined efforts of farmers, the NFU and government over the last year to illustrate the impact TB has on farms, and the scientific basis for badger control, more people than ever recognise the need to address the disease in badgers.

It is also useful to remember our own survey this summer, which showed that two thirds of the public either support or have no opinion on these badger culls.

I hope that when time shows that these culls have reduced TB in cattle – just as has happened in Ireland – that even more people will understand that while sad, these culls are absolutely necessary.

I hope that you will continue to show support for those farmers who are facing the nightmare of TB on farm and especially for those who are in the culling areas.

You can rest assured that the NFU is working hard to support its members and the companies concerned with the culls.

We will be continuing to explain publicly the importance of these badger controls to tackle the spread of TB but we will not be making any further comments about the operational details of the pilots.

NFU President Peter Kendall

Have your say on this

Your comment will be checked by our moderation team and may be used in other NFU publications. Commenting guidelines

  • Posted by: Keith PaynePosted on: 27/08/2013 09:26:43

    Comment: its about time it started, well done all involved. I see A.R. lobby were out in minehead last night, some wearing skimasks, too ashamed to show their faces? I think not,hooligans? As for fiona`s post, I cant think of many nutritious foods without dairy products of some form. I`d say she is going to go hungry :)
  • Posted by: Karen BarnesPosted on: 27/08/2013 10:03:02

    Comment: Fiona think about this! Without a badger cull now you might not actually be able to buy any 'British' dairy products in years to come!
  • Posted by: David StockerPosted on: 27/08/2013 11:45:45

    Comment: Please continue to stand firm against the intimidation of the truly nasty people in the animal rights movement. We should never, ever give in to them. Not one inch. Good luck NFU. Lots of us are with you.
  • Posted by: MariaPosted on: 27/08/2013 12:59:02

    Comment: I feel very sad about this cull. I am worried that it will encourage illegal poisoning. I agree we have to tackle these difficult issues to help both wildlife and our farmers.
  • Posted by: Alan WardPosted on: 27/08/2013 15:21:39

    Comment: Not many voices raised in support for cows with TB,not cuddly enough?
  • Posted by: Tina-Marie ShawPosted on: 27/08/2013 15:32:21

    Comment: Something has to be done for the sake of all animals. BTB is a nasty disease affecting too many badgers, cows, pigs, deer and probably more.
    I don't see anyone sticking up for the culled deer or the shot bunny. Unfortunately the badger has no natural predator and needs to be controlled, as the deer and the rabbit are.
  • Posted by: Grenville GiffordPosted on: 27/08/2013 22:12:30

    Comment: In answer to Ms Shaw .... Immunisation is the civilised option. BTW Humans no longer have natural predators either!
  • Posted by: Richard Borman Posted on: 28/08/2013 01:51:27

    Comment: Comepletetly back proposal for badger cull as something has to be done to help control spread to cattle of TB,this in turn supports the British argcuilture sectors which is having enough challenges at moment

    I'm sure that roll out of accross the country will definetly help with badger control cull.
  • Posted by: Ian KidsonPosted on: 28/08/2013 07:52:39

    Comment: Focus on the disease and the unfortunate fact that badgers are the unwitting host and super-excreter of infection.
    The cull, if sufficiently rigorous, will eventually lead to a healthy badger population and the experiment of them being a "protected species" will be shown up as utter madness.

  • Posted by: Sue MalkinPosted on: 28/08/2013 21:04:57

    Comment: I watched a programme one sunday teatime. They were culling grey squirrels to save the red ones. Whats different culling badgers to save cattle.
  • Posted by: SIAN WOMBWELLPosted on: 28/08/2013 21:53:15

    Comment: At last! Well done Owen Patterson for having the guts to go ahead with the cull. Let's see this thing through for the healthy future of farmers, cattle and badgers.
  • Posted by: Rosalie CooperPosted on: 28/08/2013 22:11:15

    Comment: I am in favour of the cull as the terrible loss of so many cattle and the misery to farmers cannot go on. However, I couldn't believe my ears this morning when I heard that they do not intend testing the culled badgers to see how many were infected.
    If this is true it seems like a scientific blunder.
  • Posted by: Richard RogersPosted on: 28/08/2013 22:31:12

    Comment: If the badger had not become protected we would not be in this predicament now. Simple Take the protection order off. Problem solved
  • Posted by: Anthony BushPosted on: 29/08/2013 06:03:38

    Comment: You can't vaccinate a sick badger. A third of badgers have TB in hot spots. For the sake of the badger we have to clear out infected areas.
  • Posted by: Angela BrockPosted on: 29/08/2013 08:51:11

    Comment: you do not appear to be addressing the disease in |badgers at all rather just kill them than actually find an answer to TB???This does not seem to me to be a well thought out argument and a good job we dont apply this rule to any other problems we have. Why does everyone assume you are a cow/farmer hater simply because I don't want a species culled?
  • Posted by: Save Posted on: 29/08/2013 09:00:44

    Comment: I'd like to thanks those that have taken the brave decision to take part in these pilot culls, it's a major step forward in our battle to control this terrible disease. The sooner we can roll it out across the hot spot areas the better it will be for cattle and badgers alike.
  • Posted by: Rita PoulsonPosted on: 30/08/2013 04:33:02

    Comment: How can e help the nation's understanding of the problem? The details of farmers' difficulties should be made clear and how much BTB is costing the tax payer.
  • Posted by: Pat PimlottPosted on: 30/08/2013 11:08:16

    Comment: It appears that everyone is on the same side, eradicate BTB, but the question of how we do it seems to be the problem. Someone has already pointed out that mass culls are not in place normally, but it does seem that the only mass culled diseased animals are farm animals, ie foot and mouth, and btb. So if other animals have a disease, we could either cull them, or catch them, test them for tb, and then cull them. In the long term, healthy, vaccinated badgers will play their part, but until they are healthy, we are wasting valuable time, money and resources, vaccinating diseased badgers. Is there a test to see if the badger has bTB? If so, this also has a part to play in the vaccination policy. Until then, a cull is the best option before btb spreads further, and more badgers and cattle have to be culled. Small culling areas, will stop the spread, and save thousands of animals lives in the future. I'm testing for btb next week, and hope that my 30 cows and young calves get through without a loss, they are like children to me, and each and every one of them has a heart, and deserves to live a healthy life. They are more lovely than badgers to me, and I hope the 2 species, in the future, can live side by side healthily. If you love badgers as though they were your children, then you can see why I want them to be healthy, whatever it takes, so that the 2 species can live peacefully together in our countryside.
  • Posted by: Hazel GibbsPosted on: 30/08/2013 11:38:30

    Comment: phew at last
  • Posted by: Bourgau KathleenPosted on: 31/08/2013 13:26:42

    Comment: Perhaps if the disney people humanised cows and pigs as they do with wildlife, people would give a little more emotional value to cattle
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