Animal welfare campaigners have welcomed the sacking of the Environment Secretary, which could mean the future of the badger cull is uncertain.

Owen Paterson was sacked yesterday (July 14) as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s reshuffle of the cabinet.

Anti-cull supporters have welcomed the decision as Mr Paterson played a key role in the controversial cull movement.

Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins said: “David Cameron is right to give Owen Paterson the boot – he’s the worst environment secretary the UK has had for decades.

Mr Paterson has wilfully ignored scientific evidence on climate change, championed pesticide firms instead of bees and massively under-invested in flood defences, leaving thousands of households at risk of future flooding.

“His successor must show he or she is serious about safeguarding Britain’s environment and protecting the nation from the growing threat of global climate change.”

Greenpeace’s executive director John Sauven added: “So for now at least, the badgers have outlasted Owen Paterson.

“If history remembers him, it will not be kind. An ideological attachment to climate change denial saw him sack people working on flood defences just when we needed them most. When his own scientists tried to brief him, he refused to hear them out.”

Liz Truss will replace Mr Paterson as Environment Secretary.

Mark Jones, vet & executive director of Humane Society International UK, said:”The departure of Owen Paterson as Secretary of State for Environment provides an opportunity for government to re-examine its disastrous, divisive and pointless badger cull.

“Mr Paterson has consistently failed to listen to science, reason and public opinion on this issue, and by doing so he has stood in the way of progress and given farmers, taxpayers, and most of all badgers, a very bad deal. In order to demonstrate her support for both England’s wildlife and its farming community, his replacement Liz Truss should immediately abandon the badger cull and set about implementing the genuinely science-led cattle and farm-based measures to tackle bovine TB that are so urgently required.

“Only then will England hope to see the kind of dramatic decline in tuberculosis that we are seeing in Wales, where the infection is being brought under control without a single badger being killed.”

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