Bovine TB

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Conservative, North Shropshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what grounds legal protection has been afforded to badgers.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

The badger benefits from legal protection introduced to outlaw cruelty towards animals. For example, the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which among other things, made the baiting of animals illegal, and the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, which made certain specified acts of cruelty illegal.

In addition, there are legal restrictions on the range of methods that can be used to kill or take badgers. This protection was introduced to outlaw inhumane and/or indiscriminate methods of control. The key legislation in this respect is the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Some of these restrictions apply to all animals, while others apply only to animals, like the badger, listed on schedule 6 of the Act.

There have also been specific laws to protect badgers. These were introduced as a welfare measure to combat illegal badger baiting, and also as a conservation measure in response to declines in badger numbers in the 1970s and 1980s. The various statutes specifically relating to badgers were consolidated under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

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