A GREEN councillor has slammed a council that voted against a motion to oppose the expansion of the national badger cull into Oxfordshire.

Put forward by Green Councillor Ian Middleton at a full Cherwell District Council meeting on Monday, it called on leader Barry Wood to write to DEFRA opposing the cull especially as it could potentially include areas in Cherwell.

The motion also called for the council to confirm that it would not allow the killing of badgers on any land owned or controlled by them now or in the future.

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But all Conservative councillors either voted against or abstained while other councillors present at the meeting supported the motion, which did not pass.

Mr Middleton said: "Yet again Cherwell's Conservatives entirely missed the point. They tied themselves in knots looking for ways to defend the indefensible, relying on unsound assumptions and a poor understanding of the issues.

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"From the comments I've received since the vote, they are totally out of touch with the views of residents and animal-lovers in Cherwell."

Seconded by Liberal Democrat Councillor Conrad Copeland, the motion was partly inspired by the work of the Oxfordshire Badger Group and their vaccination programme in the county, which seeks to find an alternative to the problem of Bovine TB (bTB) in the badger population.

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It was hoped the council would support and encourage this work and other non-lethal alternatives for bTB control.

Mr Middleton added: "I'm acutely aware of the impact of bTB on local farmers and I fully support the need to control TB in cattle and in the wider wildlife population.

"But as a council that has passed a climate change emergency motion, we also have a responsibility to support biodiversity and protect our wildlife."

Cherwell District Council leader Councillor Barry Wood said in the meeting: "This motion is not supporting our farming community. It places tokenism above their livelihoods and concerns.

"It places tokenism above our proper lobbying of government about council service delivery and of course it deliberately ignores the merits of the government's combined approach of a range of interventions to eradicate the greatest animal health threat in the country."