LONDON (AP) — British farm union officials say a cull of badgers has begun in a bid to lessen cattle tuberculosis.
The badgers are blamed for spreading the disease to cattle, but vocal opponents say killing badgers is not a sound solution.
National Farmers' Union President Peter Kendall said Tuesday that a "pilot" badger cull had begun in two areas.
Plans call for about 5,000 badgers to be killed during the six-week program.
Famers backed by government officials say the cull is needed because of the rapid spread of cattle tuberculosis.
Demonstrators have tried to block the cull. They argue that a vaccine is being developed that would be more effective and humane than killing badgers.