FARMERS in Wiltshire are renewing calls for badger culls after a Government report this week confirmed it would be an effective way to reduce outbreaks of tuberculosis in cattle.

Sir David King, the Government's chief scientist made the announcement in a report this week following a previous study which stated culls would be ineffective'.

Farmers, who have already had a disastrous year due to the summer flooding and the foot and mouth outbreaks in Surrey, say it is either the badgers or their cattle.

Andrew King runs Lawn Farm just outside of Malmesbury where he keeps 180 dairy cows.

He said: "The rights and wrongs of killing badgers isn't the issue. If you have got a problem you need to do something about it. It's not going to go away.

"I haven't had a breakdown but I know people who have. You can't sell your calves so the whole farm and business stops. You worry about it but there is not a lot you can do about it.

"Twenty years ago you wouldn't even see a badger and now they are everywhere. They don't have any natural predators so there will be more disease amongst them."

The National Farmers Union has also backed the calls for the cull.

Phil Harvey, chairman of the Wiltshire branch of the NFU, said: "It is a very difficult situation. People have to realise that the badgers are harbouring the disease.

"The difficulty is whether you accept that you are either going to have to slaughter cows or badgers.

"I know badgers are appealing, cuddly animals but if they are harbouring a potentially dangerous disease you have to accept that something has to be done about it."

Malcolm Clark, of the Wiltshire Badger Group, did not accept the report's findings.

He said: "It beggars belief to suggest culling. There is no logic to it.

"I really hope the ministers see sense as there is no firm evidence to suggest that badgers carry TB.

"Deer have the potential to spread TB and they can cover large distances. Badgers tend to stay in their setts.

"I just cannot understand the findings in the slightest."

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