The government will not extend the badger cull to Dorset – but will continue with pilot schemes in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson will make a number of chances to the initiative after Defra’s Independent Expert Panel found the cull was not being effective and improvements to the humaneness of the cull with be looked at.
“The four year culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire are pilots and we always expected to learn lessons from them” said Mr Paterson.
“It is crucial we get this right. That is why we are taking a responsible approach, accepting recommendations from experts to make the pilots better.
“Doing nothing is not an option. Bovine TB is a terrible disease which is devastating our cattle and dairy industries and causing misery for many people in rural communities. We need to do everything we can, as set out in our strategy, to make England TB free.”
The government will offer more extensive training for contractors carrying out the cull, better planning by the licensed companies to ensure the scheme is spread evenly across all land available and initiative to increase the effectiveness of the culls by removing all badgers in a safe and humane way.
Farms will also be offered a new service, offering advice on how to better protect their farms from disease.
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) welcomed the government’s decision not to roll out the cull in other areas, and will continue a scheme of vaccinating badgers in Dorset.
Director of Conservation at DWT, Imogen Davenport said: “Dorset Wildlife Trust does not view this as a victory and is very sympathetic to farmers who suffer as a result of the devastating Bovine Tuberculosis disease.
“However, scientific study has concluded that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to control of bTB in cattle. We believe that there are alternative ways to control the disease and we welcome Defra’s announcement in relation to these measures.”