Shooting badgers at night with high velocity rifles does pose a risk to the public, Gloucestershire County Council decided today.
The council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee met today to discuss the issue of badger culling on their land and took steps towards banning it.
A trial cull of badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset is due to take place to see if it can reduce the impact of tuberculosis in cattle which some say is spread by badgers..
The county council is the largest landowner of farmland in Gloucestershire with around 1,000 acres in the heart of the proposed cull area in Tewkesbury and the Forest of Dean.
A petition signed by 779 people in Gloucestershire in the last few weeks requested that the cull should be banned on land owned by the Council.
This petition led to a thorough discussion on the council’s committee today regarding their current permission to allow tenanted farmers to cull badgers.
The Budget and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted that the full Council review their current policy that allows tenant farmers to take part in the Gloucestershire cull.
The next Full Council meeting is due to take place on 21 November, however campaigners will be asking for an earlier meeting given the imminent cull.
The committee also recommended that the Cabinet Member responsible for farms requests tenants taking part in the cull to carry out a risk assessment to re-assure the Council that the public would not be put at undue risk.
Councillors acknowledged concerns that night-time shooting of badgers involving high velocity rifles brought serious safety and policing issues.
Liz Gaffer, the lead petitioner and spokesperson for Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting said “We are pleased that the councillors have taken this matter seriously and given due weight to public opinion in deciding to review the existing policy.
"As seen through the petition, the public are increasingly ready to say that they are concerned about this cull and we urge everyone against it to let the council know so that they make the right decision quickly.”