COUNTY councillors have voted against a controversial badger cull in Hampshire.
Councillors overwhelmingly agreed not to let the cull, which is being trialled in Somerset and Gloucester, be introduced to the county.
A six-week trial began in those two areas of south-west England this month, which aims to kill 5,000 badgers – around 75 per cent of the counties’ total popluation – to combat Bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
Bovine TB is a respiratory disease spread by badgers, harmful to cattle and is one of the biggest challenges facing the cattle farming industry today. It can also be passed to other animals such as cats, dogs and deer.
Without invention, bTB is estimated to cost the government more than £1b over the next decade and costs farmers £12,000 per breakout, crippling the farming industry.
Hampshire County Council decided whether to introduce the cull to Hampshire at its executive meeting on Thursday. But the proposal was rejected by an overwhelming majority.
Cllr Geoffrey Fazackerley, opposition spokesperson for the environment on Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘I fully support this motion and have fought for a ban since the cull was first announced.
‘There is not enough evidence in support of the cull and far more evidence to support vaccination.’
Hardway councillor Peter Chegwyn said: ‘It is an issue I feel passionate about. It is a completely ineffective means of control. Culling is extremely cruel, expensive and detrimental to wildlife.
‘It received overwhelming cross-party support, all the councillors joined forces to send a clear message that we do not wish the cull to be brought to Hampshire.’
Fareham Sarisbury Cllr Sean Woodward also voted in favour of rejecting the cull.
He said: ‘I do not believe the cull is scientifically proven to reduce Bovine TB and, secondly, I think it an absolutely cruel way to deal with innocent animals.’
Animal welfare groups, the Badger Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the RSPCA are opposed to the cull.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has raised £45,000 to roll out a vaccination programme, believed to be more effective than a cull.