The Badger Cull




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The Badger Cull

On Friday 28 August* it was announced that the pilot Badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset are to continue. And that the pilot will be expanded to include a third area, Dorset.

The announcement has met with widespread criticism by animal organisations, eminent scientists and veterinarians and lobby groups all over the country. That criticism was joined by the Chairman of Conservative Animal Welfare , Suzy Gale and the Founder of Blue Badger & Elmbridge resident Lorraine Platt.

Suzy Gale, Chairman of Conservative Animal Welfare, and Lorraine Platt of Blue Badger said: it is very disappointing that the culls look set to continue despite Natural England’s own Scientific Advisor branding the badger culls “an epic failure”. The Government’s own Independent Expert Panel showed that the culls were ineffective and inhuman.

Lorraine Platt added: “The Government is so desperate to be seen to be doing something to control bovine TB but it should not ignore the science and facts against the badger cull. We call for England to follow Wales’s successful example of tackling bovine TB by focussing on cattle control measures and vaccinating badgers in the high risk TB areas ”.

The statement goes on to say: Eminent scientists have spoke out against the cull because it will not significantly reduce incidents of bovine TB. The Labour Government culled over 11,000 badgers at a cost of around £50 million pounds over many years, only for the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) report of 2007 to conclude that culling badgers makes no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.

The present Government does not need to futile repeat badger culling and should learn from the ISG scientific report conclusion that the rising incidence of Tb disease can be reversed and geographical spread contained by the rigid application of cattle control measures alone.

The badger cull has been a disaster and has cost millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money which amounts to thousands of pounds per dead badger. Nearly all the badgers killed will not have bovine TB and the government has refused to test any of the badgers in the pilot zones for the last two years.”

Twenty Conservative MPs, including Esher & Walton MP Dominic Raab MP, signed a letter from Anne Main MP to the former Minister Owen Paterson in 2013 voicing the concern of the considerable anxiety within the Conservative Party about the pilot badger culls in England. The letter stated:

‘There is a need to keep Parliament informed of the results once the trial period has finished and before any decision is made on future on future culls’. The letter called on any wider cull to be subject to a vote.

Suzy Gale and Lorraine Platt conclude: ‘Sadly for our farmers, cattle and wildlife, the scientific advice has not been heeded by Ministers and once again a pointless unnecessary cull looks likely to continue. We all have a vested interest in the correct and long term control of bovine TB. Culling badgers is not the solution. The solution lies in if the Government will finally listen to sound science and focus on cattle based measures instead of badger culling as scientists have advised for many years. This disastrous policy has to end’.

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*BBC News 28 August 2015 www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england

If you would like to know more about the work of Blue Badger please click on the links below:

Blue Badger campaigns, along with leading animal welfare organisations, to protect badgers from the badger cull plans
www.bluebadger.org

Conservatives Against Fox Hunting (CAFH) runs two other campaigns in Westminster:

Blue Fox campaigns against return of hunting with hounds
www.conservativesagainstfoxhunting.com

Blue Hare campaigns for a close season for nursing hares
www.bluehare.org.uk

Further Information:

1. Defra: Setting the minimum and maximum numbers in Dorset for Year 1 of the badger cull Advice to Natural England August 2015

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/456776/bovinetb-min-max-advice-dorset.pdf

2. Team Badger: www.teambadger.org

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Christine Elmer

Christine Elmer, Campaigner Blue Fox & Blue Badger

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