FARMERS who rent land from Gloucestershire County Council must be left to decide if they wish to carry out a badger cull after councillors voted to maintain its existing
The debate on the issue sparked into life after a public petition
opposing the cull was presented to the council.
A decision to uphold a policy first introduced in 1999 was
made at a full council meeting at Shire Hall earlier today.
Councillor Ray Theodoulou, cabinet member for resources,
said: "It's right that, on issues of farming and animal welfare, farmers, not
councillors make the decisions.
"The badger cull is a contentious issue and it's right the
council made it clear it neither supports nor opposes it.
"The proper place for that debate is in Westminster, not
The policy first came into force in July 13 1999. At the
time, councillors expressed concern the council could become liable if it issued
a directive to either allow or ban culls and the viability of the farm was put
Gloucestershire County Council leader Mark Hawthorne said: "We would be discriminating against farmers just because they are council tenants,
is that right?
"No. It's not right. I do not think that is a line that this council
should cross or one that we should dare to test in a court of law."
Liberal Democrat leader in Gloucester Jeremy Hilton said: "Making
a decision not to allow the culling of badgers on farms subject to future
tenancy agreement would send a message to the government that we are opposed to
He added: "Imagine if a marksman was walking though the countryside
and hit a dog and we have done nothing about it."