Badger Culling

Badger by Jon BowenBadger by Jon Bowen

Gwent Wildlife Trust does not support the culling of badgers as a component of the bovine TB eradication programme, we do actively support the deployment of badger bTB vaccine (BadgerBCG).

On 11th September the Badger Trust lost its appeal against the judgment given by Lord Justice Ouseley on 12th July in respect of the Judicial Review the Badger Trust made against the Government’s decision to hold a pilot trial of the free-shooting of badgers in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire.

The decision was made on a point of law rather than on the basis of science and we therefore feel that this needs to be challenged further. Whilst we have been successful in Wales in our challenge of the badger cull, what happens in England will have detrimental impacts on wildlife and is a moot policy approach.

The last month or so has seen an interesting turn of events with regards to the badger cull; after a week which saw over 150,000 people sign an e-petition demanding a debate on the cull in Parliament, an open letter was sent to the Observer, composed by leading animal disease scientists, launching an attack on the basic premise of the UK government’s policy of culling badgers to reduce bovine TB;
As scientists with expertise in managing wildlife and wildlife diseases, we believe the complexities of TB transmission mean that licensed culling risks increasing cattle TB rather than reducing it.”

Further to this many of the scientists involved came out with their own personal quotes which excoriated the UK government for taking their work and perverting the meaning of their conclusions. Lord KrebsTheir (NFU) President Peter Kendall is going to have a lot of angry farmers on his hands in three-four years’ time saying we have spent a lot of money on the cull but we still have TB.”

Professor John Bourne who led the ten year study into badger culling said “The real reason for the cull is that politicians are desperate and I think farmers have been hoodwinked for years” he went on to say “It is not badgers that spread the disease throughout the country; it is cattle

Lord Robert May, former scientific advisor, said “it is very clear to me that the government’s policy does not make sense

Professor Rosie Woodroffe, of the Zoological Society of London, said “the document” used by government to back the badger cull “simply does not endorse the policy

In a separate development, nine leading vets have written an open letter to Defra and Natural England. They warn that the shooting permitted by the cull licences “will inevitably result in the targeting of many pregnant sows and, if culling extends towards the end of the open season, could result in the shooting of lactating sows, leading to the starvation of dependent cubs”.

As a consequence of the e-petition a debate in Parliament will be held in the week beginning 22nd October 2012.

In Wales on 15th June this year, The Badger (Control Area) (Wales) (Revocation) Order 2012 came into force, revoking the Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2011 that had until that time still been in effect. This therefore removes the legislation making culling possible in Wales.

Latest News: Cull delayed

On 23 October the Government announced that the pilot culls in England would be delayed until next year, following a request from the farmers carrying out the cull.

On 25 October MPs voted by 147 to 28 in favour of a motion which called for the cull to be stopped in favour of a vaccination programme for badgers and cattle, along with improved testing and biosecurity. The vote followed a five and a half hour Parliamentary debate, triggered after more than 163,000 people signed a petition opposing the cull. The Wildlife Trusts are calling on Government to listen to MPs and abandon the cull completely. 

Further information from the Welsh Assembly on bovine TB please follow this link; Further information on badger culling from the Wildlife Trusts can be found below.




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