The UK is putting its controversial plans to kill thousands of wild badgers on hold until summer 2013. Nearly 75,000 signatures were gathered on three Care2 petitions targeting the UK government on this issue and our collective voice has been heard!
The government’s announcement preceded a non-binding vote in the Houses of Parliament. After a 5-hour discussion, Members of Parliament voted for the government to implement more sustainable and humane solutions. Although the vote may not end similar proposals in the future, it will now be harder for the government to justify these culls.
Seventy percent of wild badgers in two pilot areas were slated to be shot over a six week period following which a large-scale cull would have been rolled out across England resulting in the cruel and inhumane deaths of up to 130,000 badgers. Many animals would have been injured and left to suffer slowly and painfully.
The British government believes that killing badgers would help eradicate bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle. However, comprehensive scientific studies have concluded the opposite — the culls will not help farmers or cattle, and would be disastrous for England’s wildlife. Some scientists even believe the bTB problem will worsen despite culls.
The scale of the proposed culls would lead to the disappearance of badgers from many local areas. Badger numbers across England could be reduced by a third, and across Southwest England by around 50 percent. A more sustainable way forward would be to vaccinate badgers, improve cattle bTB testing and implement measures to arrest the spread of bTB between cattle on farms.
Animal protection organizations — including Care2′s partner Humane Society International (HSI) — have fought hard against the culls. Thank you to the tens of thousands of Care2 members who opposed the UK badger culls via Care2, HSI and citizen petitions. We will continue to monitor the situation and push for a permanent end these badger culls.