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Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Another broken promise as slaughter of healthy badgers continues

After pledging to phase out the badger cull, intended to reduce bovine TB in cattle, after a scientific review cast doubt on its efficacy (when did it ever have scientific valdidity - spoiler: it didn't), the government has now gone back on its word and announced that this senseless slaughter is being expanded to 11 new areas of England including parts of Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire so that more than 60,000 badgers can be killed.

The Guardian reports that for the first time, culling – including cage-trapping and “free shooting” – will take place this autumn in Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Shropshire and Oxfordshire, where successful badger vaccination projects are under way. Vaccinating badgers has been shown to reduce bovine TB in badger populations:

Dominic Dyer, the chief executive of the Badger Trust, said: “The decision to expand the badger cull is a huge betrayal of public trust by the government. Despite responding to the Sir Charles Godfrey TB Review in March with a clear commitment to phase out badger culling in favour of TB vaccination of badgers and cattle, the government is now embarking on a mass destruction of badgers, which is little more than ecological vandalism on an unprecedented scale.”

Jo Smith, the chief executive of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, also condemned the decision. “This is a staggering government U-turn and one which will result in thousands of healthy badgers being shot across England this autumn.

“We are at a critical turning point for our natural world and this latest U-turn should set alarm bells ringing. Culling is an outdated policy that seeks to eradicate protected wildlife rather than addressing the real problem which is the main cause of bovine tuberculosis: cattle-to-cattle infection.”

There is sound, peer-reviewed scientific studies that show culling is ineffective in preventing the spread of bovine TB, and yet the government persists in the cruel and unnecessary slaughter of a protected species, rather than pursue other methods as in Wales.
If a vaccination project is under way in some of these areas why is there a cull in the same areas?
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