UK government postpones badger cull after high profile protests amid concerns over costs

Associated Press

LONDON - Britain's government on Tuesday postponed a plan to kill thousands of badgers after protests from animal rights groups and concern over the plan's cost and effectiveness.

Farmers had pressed for a badger cull because the creatures can spread bovine tuberculosis, a disease that can devastate herds and hurt farm revenues.

But the black and white burrowers have had high-profile supporters such as Queen guitarist Brian May, who campaigned against the cull that was to take place in the southwest of England.

The project is now to be put back until next year after a survey found almost twice as many badgers as previously thought — which dramatically raised the cost of the plan.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told lawmakers that the government remains committed to the idea.

Rocker and environmentalist May welcomed the reprieve, but said the cull should be scrapped altogether.

"This is a scientifically flawed, ethically reprehensible, economically unjustifiable and reckless policy that needs to be abandoned, once and for all," he said.

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