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(My thanks and admiration go to Andrew Birch, the Observer's talented cartoonist)

The debate about badgers is fierce.

Do they spread the deadly TB virus? Many of my farmers believe they do.

The former Government Scientic Advisor, Sir David King, advocated a cull.

Read his report in full

It is highly controversial - issues involving animal welfare always are.

The Labour Government came down against a cull.

The issue became live again, with the announcement from DEFRA of  two new trial culls: one in Gloucestershire, the other in my patch on Exmoor. Farmers were licenced by Natural England - a strict process, the details of which can be found here. Subsequently the pilot culls have shown results which are less than conclusive. There continues to be much heated debate from every side of the argument.

An independent scientific committee, led by Professor Christopher Wathes, will assess future evidence.

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  ©2003,2004 Ian Liddell-Grainger. All rights reserved.