THE debate planned for next week on the issue of badger shooting on farmland owned by Gloucestershire County Council has been cancelled, to the fury of animal welfare campaigners in Stroud.

The extraordinary meeting of the council was due to be held on Monday, October 29 but was cancelled following a government decision earlier this week to put off the trial cull until next summer.

The five members of the council who had made the request for an extraordinary meeting withdrew it after the government announcement and the council chairman agreed to cancel the meeting.

In a statement today the council said: “The recommendation from the Budget and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Council to review its policy regarding Rural Practices and Procedures will now be considered at the next scheduled meeting of full Council on November 21.”

Members of the Stroud 100, who have been campaigning for the vaccination of cattle against bovine TB instead of culling the badgers, accused the council of riding roughshod over local people, many of whom had made special arrangements to be able to attend Monday’s meeting.

Jeanne Berry, founder of Stroud 100, said: “We’re furious that the council has been so insensitive to the views of local people and pulled this meeting about its policy on badger culling.

  “This is one of a very small number of issues that has got the public interested in the council and its work.

“It is shameful that the decision has been taken on the same day that parliament has found time to go ahead and debate the issue.

“I can see why local democracy is seen as irrelevant to most people’s lives as politicians are out of touch with what people want debated.

“Many people had booked leave to attend the meeting, which will now have to be changed, but this will not stop the local campaign to stop badger culling on county council land.”