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.
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