An anti-badger cull councillor is accusing East Sussex County Council of dragging its heels and wants to see a blanket ban on the controversial killing on the authority’s land.
Councillor Phil Scott has urged county hall to act now and outlaw badger culling as a method of controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis by tabling a motion demanding the council’s leadership take action.
That will be discussed at a full council meeting on February 11, but a pre-emptive report recommends the authority holds off making a decision until further evidence is available – leading to criticism from Cllr Scott.
Having read the report, Cllr Scott said, “The recommendation in the report to do nothing is in stark contrast to a number of other county councils across the country where cross party support not to allow a cull on their county council owned land has been clearly evident. It also flies very much in the face of most public opinion which is opposed to a badger cull so I am most disappointed with the recommendation.”
The council report urges councillors to wait until approving a ban but acknowledges East Sussex is considered a high risk area as far as bovine tuberculosis is concerned.
It reads, “Scientific evidence has demonstrated that whilst badgers do play a significant role in the spread of bovine TB, the effect of culling badgers in controlling the spread of the disease is not fully understood, and in some circumstances could increase rates of infection.
“Conversely, badger vaccination has no known negative consequences, and is publicly acceptable. Both culling and vaccination are currently being trialled in high risk areas in the UK to assess their effectiveness. Results of these trials will be available in 2015/16. It is recommended that the county council develops a policy towards badger culling on its own land once the evidence that is being collected through the current trials becomes available.”