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Badger Cull Announced in Wales
Posted 9 April 2008
The Welsh Assembly has announced that a cull of badgers will take place – a decision that flies in the face of scientific evidence and public opinion. Although the location and details have yet to be decided, it is expected that every badger within a designated area would be eradicated over a period of years.
Farmers have long blamed badgers for spreading bovine tuberculosis (bTB) to cattle and resisted the idea that its own intensive rearing, breeding and transport practices are at the heart of the bovine TB problem. In fact, exhaustive research demonstrates that cattle movements ‘substantially and consistently outweigh’ all other factors in spreading bovine TB. Says Martin Hancox, zoologist and former member of the Badgers and Bovine TB Panel: ‘TB is appearing in areas that have been TB-free for ten years, sometimes longer. The badgers were there all the time: are they supposed to have sat around for a decade and then one day decided to infect cows?’
The government appointed Independent Scientific Group on bTB spent eight years evaluating the effects of badger culling on TB in cattle, which cost 11,000 badgers their lives and taxpayers £34 million. It concluded that, ‘badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain’.
DEFRA’s recent public consultation about a badger cull received submissions from 47,000 respondents, ninety-five per cent of whom opposed a cull. Despite all this, a badger cull will go ahead in Wales and may open the way for a mass cull in the rest of Britain, too.
Contact the Welsh Assembly Minister for Rural Affairs, Elin Jones to urge her to reconsider: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact DEFRA’s Hilary Benn and urge him not to sanction a badger cull: Hilary.Benn@defra.gsi.gov.uk