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Sunday, August 30, 2015

UK Government abandon evidence-based policy and extend badger cull to Dorset

The UK Government has announced that their disastrous and ineffective badger cull will be revived for another year and extended to the county of Dorset.

According to the Independent Ministers claim the killings are necessary to fight TB in cattle, which farmers say hurts their business. Some believe badgers are responsible for spreading the disease.

However, an independent analysis commissioned by the Government told ministers that the culls were ineffective and inhumane:

“Findings show unequivocally that the culls were not effective and that they failed to meet the humaneness criteria,” Rosie Woodford, a scientist at the Zoological Society of London told the BBC at the time.

“I hope this will lead to the Secretary of State to focus on other ways of eradicating TB in cattle.”
Dominic Dyer, the chief executive of the Badger Trust charity, said the Government’s own evidence contradicted the policy.

“Defra's own data suggest that while 15 per cent of badgers may test positive for bovine TB, just 1.6 per cent of them are capable of passing on the disease,” he explained.

“This means 98.4% pose no risk whatsoever to cattle and 85% are likely to be completely bTB free. Trying to control bTB in cattle by culling badgers that don't have bTB doesn't make any sense."

Independent Advisory Panel scientist Professor Timothy Coluson in June accused the Government of abusing the scientific process and “wilfully” ignoring evidence in pursuit of the cull.

"They just want to cull badgers, regardless of whether the population or humaneness consequences can be assessed,” he said.

And as I reported last month, the various measures being deployed against the spread of TB in cattle in Wales, where we have abandoned plans for a cull, are starting to show results.

Although Professor Christianne Glossop says that it is too early to determine the impact of the badger vaccination programmes in Pembrokeshire, she told an audience at the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Powys that incidents of TB have fallen by 28%. She added a 45% cut in animals being culled had left 94% of herds TB free.

Maybe the UK Government needs to look at the evidence here before taking these dubious decisions.
The "Mirror" reports the 2014 badger cull cost to the taxpayer was £7,583 for each animal; so the 2014 cull has pointlessly wasted £16 million of OUR money on government authorised cruelty. Cattle bTB has gone up substantially in and at the edge of the badger cull zones - killing badgers seems to result in more cattle bTB, not less. If DEFRA, Natural England or the NFU had any sense, they'd be working flat out to stop the 2015 cull starting ANYWHERE.

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