MALVERN Hills District Council has banned badger culling on its land as the second round of night-time shoots gets under way in neighbouring Gloucestershire.
The council decided at the beginning of September not to allow the practice, aimed at preventing bovine tuberculosis in cattle, on the 20 acres of grassland it owns where badgers could live. Although, the Government has not announced any plans to roll out culling outside of Gloucestershire and Somerset where pilot programmes took place in 2013 and resumed last week.
Campaigners in Malvern joined the nationwide Operation Badger movement to lobby local authorities to outlaw the practice on its land to send a message to the Government.
A petition containing 750 signatures was handed into MHDC earlier this year prompting a Full Council debate although talks on the issue had been delayed due to other council business.
At the meeting earlier this month campaigner Di Pugh said Worcestershire would be a ‘key area’ for the Government if culling was subsequently rolled out.
She further argued the practice was inefficient, inhumane and ineffective, and said money would be better spent on developing a cattle vaccine.
Coun Julian Roskams, member of the town’s Green Party, also gave vocal support to campaigners on the night, and the move to ban culling on council land was passed with no one opposing it.
Council leader David Hughes, said: “It will never be acceptable for this council to allow shooting on council owner land. However we have no power to tell other land owners what to do on theirs.”
After the decision, Ms Pugh added: “We are very pleased with MHDC’s decision. Although there is very little council land where this may have been an issue, any badgers there will now be safe.
“This was also about sending a clear message to the Government that most people are not in favour of these culls. MHDC joins a growing list of councils who have listened to what the people want and made this very important decision.
“It was terrible to hear that the first shots have been fired and the badger cull is under way again. This cull can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control.
“The Government has chosen to ignore science and public opinion. We will continue to campaign against this action.
“We would like to thank MHDC for their decision and in particular Councillor Julian Roskams for his support.”