Farmer: 'The only real winner here is the disease'
Dairy farmer Paul Griffith was celebrating his herd being passed as TB-free when he heard the news.
"This was upsetting and very disappointing," said Mr Griffith, who milks 140 British Friesian and Montbeliarde cows at his farm, near Okehampton.
"The only real winner here is the disease and the longer we delay with these pilot culls, the longer it will take other areas to come to grips and solve the dreadful problems we face with TB."
Mr Griffith, who is the Devon representative on the main NFU Council, said any extra delay not only increased the pressure on farmers already facing hardship because of the disease, it did little to encourage new entrants to agriculture, who were vital.
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"We want to get this strategy right for the next generation of farmers," he stressed. "Thank goodness we have an Environment Secretary in Owen Paterson who wants to press on and get the pilot culls working next year."
He was angry with the pro-badger lobby.
"The Badger Trust, the RSPCA, Brian May and the rest of them are not interested in the plight of farmers, or have any ideas how to help," he added.
"They blithely talk about vaccines for cattle and badgers, but we know the BSG vaccine only works for 70% of the time. What about the other 30% of our cattle? What we are looking for is a vaccine that is 100% certain to work."
Andrew Butler, acting regional director of the NFU in the South West, said there was "huge frustration" among cattle farmers right across the region at news of the culls' postponement.
"But they well understand, because it has been explained in a straightforward way, why we could not have delivery of the pilot culls within the timeframe available," he said.
"It's far better that we do the job properly next year, when we have more time."
But, he added, the delay in tackling TB was going to make life "very unpleasant" for very many beef and dairy farmers constantly threatened by the disease.
He added: "The key issue here and now is that this is a postponement and not cancellation, whatever anyone may like to claim.
"It was partly caused by the delays brought about by the legal challenges.
"The fact remains, it is not going to be good news for huge numbers of farm businesses already struggling with the problems connected with TB."
Andrew Praill, of the British Cattle Veterinary Association, said he was disappointed, but insisted it was important to remember that the pilots were based on the available science and were designed to ensure the policy could be delivered effectively, humanely and safely, and eventually lead to the eradication of TB.