A WILDLIFE charity has called for a halt to a ‘flawed badger cull’ that is now taking place in Cumbria for the second year running.

Badger culling was given the go-ahead in the east of the county last year in a bid to prevent the spread of deadly bovineTB in cattle after an outbreak in the Shap area. Government figures of bTB surveillance in badgers in Cumbria in 2018 showed that 602 badgers were culled - and 40 out of 363 tested badgers (11.0 percent) were positive for bTB.

Stephen Trotter, chief executive Officer of Cumbria Wildlife Trust says: “We work closely with many farmers, and recognise the difficulties they face. No one wants to see cattle herds being devastated by bTB, but killing badgers will not solve the problem. Badgers are not the primary cause of the spread of bTB in cattle: the primary route of infection is cattle-to-cattle contact. Government should put more resources into speeding up the development of an effective cattle vaccine, among other measures.”

National Farmers Union vice president Stuart Roberts said: “It has always been the case that culls need to run for four years and it will be a number of years after that before the full evidence of their effectiveness is available.”