Devon County Council rejects badger cull ban

A bid to ban badger culling on council-owned land in Devon has been thrown out by members.

Labour councillor Jill Owen had submitted a motion to the full council that it should “prohibit badger culling on its land, where it has the legal jurisdiction so to do, and asks that more research be undertaken by Government to find more effective and cheaper vaccinations for badgers and cattle to help eradicate bovine TB”.

Members spoke passionately on both sides of the debate, with Coun Owen saying: “I want to support local farmers, I buy local food as much as possible, it is very important to the economy but tourism is as well.

“What message does that send to a lot of people elsewhere in the country? Like hunting, the majority of people don’t support killing things in this way when the reason for doing so is not proved.”

But Councillor Jerry Brook warned the authority would be unable to implement a ban, rendering the motion pointless. He said: “Our tenants on our estate do not have a clause in their tenancy agreements that allows us to add to it after they have signed it.”

Coun Brook said if they opted for ban, the authority be open to legal challenge which they would lose and bear the expense. He said: “If you were to put to the people of Devon, do you want us to spend our limited resources on essential services or to spend it on pursuing something we are going to lose, I’m sure the majority would say they want it to spend it on essential services.”

He added: “If you support economy of Devon, you will chuck this motion out.”

Coun Julian Brazil said: “I can’t support his motion because I don’t think it does anything. What we need to do is find a solution and find it fast because … of the human misery it causes when whole herds have to be put down.”

The motion was defeated by 27 votes to 18.

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