Badger cull moves to top of political agenda in Gloucestershire
BADGER culling has been placed at the top of the political agenda as a matter of urgency as the controversial issue reaches boiling point in Gloucestershire.
An extraordinary meeting has been called by the county council following a review of its policy on culling badgers on its land to curb the spread of bovine TB.
The council will meet to discuss its rural practices and procedures in relation to the forthcoming cull on Monday, October 29 at Shire Hall, four days after the topic is debated in Parliament.
Liberal Democrat county councillor Jeremy Hilton led calls for the meeting.
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"This meeting will determine the council's legal position in the cull being undertaken on land that is owned, controlled or managed by the council.
"There has been overwhelming public opposition against this cull. It is therefore important for councillors from all parties to be seen making every effort to attend."
The parliamentary debate will help explain the science behind the badger culls and detail of the Government's TB eradication programme.
A public e-petition attracted thousands of signatures, calling for further political discussion on the subject.
President of the National Farmers Union, Peter Kendall, hopes the discussions will eradicate any misinformation that exists over the cull and bovine TB.
"We understand this is a highly emotive issue and people should feel their views have been listened to," he said.
The devastating effect of bovine TB was felt by one Forest of Dean farmer, Jim Hunt, after 126 of his cattle were decimated due to the disease, costing his business tens of thousands of pounds.
A pilot cull of badgers in the county has been given the go-ahead by Natural England.
Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting is organising a peaceful vigil on Sunday in the Forest of Dean in response to the number of people expressing their fear over the impending cull. The meeting will take place at the clock tower, in the marketplace in Coleford at 7pm.