UK Badgers To Be Killed In Plan To Protect Cattle

Badger culling will be tried out in two areas of England early next year in an attempt to tackle bovine tuberculosis in cattle.

Care2′s Megan Drake wrote here about the battle against badgers that has been going on for some time. The issue is an increase in the incidence of TB in cattle. Since badgers are known to spread the disease to cattle herds, these cute black-and-white creatures have become a target for extinction.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said a decision would be made after the trials in yet-to-be-decided locations on extending it across the country.

“A Great Strength Of Feeling On The Issue

From the BBC:

“Evidence shows that unless we tackle the disease in badgers we’ll never eradicate it in cattle”, she told MPs. “We need to stop it spreading, bring it under control and eradicate it.”

Mrs Spelman said she knew there was “a great strength of feeling on the issue” and realised how much opposition there was to a cull, but action had to be taken before the situation got worse.

“We can’t escape the fact that the evidence supports the case for the controlled reduction of the badger population in the areas affected by bovine TB,” she said.

“The impacts of this terrible disease also show us that we need to act now. We cannot keep delaying. Having listened to all sides of the debate, I believe that this approach is the right one to make.”

Government Hopes Badger Cull Will Lead To 16% Reduction In Bovine TB

Spelman told the House of Commons that nearly 25,000 cattle were slaughtered in England last year because of bovine TB, and over the next 10 years the cost to the taxpayer was set to reach £1bn.

The government hopes the cull will lead to a 16% reduction in bovine TB.

Predictably, the National Farmers’ Union President, Peter Kendall, said he commended the government’s decision. The job of his union is to protect cattle, who provide profit for their members, while of course wild badgers don’t have a union to protect them.

Others Disagree Vehemently With The  Environment Secretary’s Decision.

Opponents argue that the government is deciding to support a badger cull is cruel and unnecessary, when this has not been proven as an effective method to deal with bovine TB.

As first reported by the BBC, Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “A badger cull is the wrong tool to address this serious and complex problem and a distraction from other measures to tackle bovine TB. An industry-led cull with open shooting in the countryside is untested and these pilots will not provide a scientific evaluation of the impact on bovine TB. The government’s priority should be preventing transmission of the disease on-farm, through improved biosecurity, badger vaccination and making swift progress on a cattle vaccine.”

“Badger Culling Can Make No Meaningful Contribution To Cattle TB Control”

And the long term UK study, Randomized Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) performed between 1998 and 2007 concluded:

“First, while badgers are clearly a source of cattle TB, careful evaluation of our own and others’ data indicates that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain. Indeed, some policies under consideration are likely to make matters worse rather than better. Second, weaknesses in cattle testing regimes mean that cattle themselves contribute significantly to the persistence and spread of disease in all areas where TB occurs, and in some parts of Britain are likely to be the main source of infection. Scientific findings indicate that the rising incidence of disease can be reversed and geographical spread contained, by the rigid application of cattle-based control measures alone.”

That sounds like a definitive conclusion that badger culling is an not only ineffective, but also cruel and unnecessary, as a tool to eradicate bovine TB.

Opposition Groups Set To Challenge The Decision

Opposition groups claim to have gathered 100,000 signatures for petitions opposing the policy, and plans have been announced to mount a legal challenge.

Included in these are almost 25,000 Care2 signatures. If you care about saving these innocent animals, please click here to sign our petition asking British Prime Minister David Cameron to save these badgers from slaughter.

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Jessica Story
Jessica Story3 years ago

This cull is ineffectual, irrelevant & unnecessary! Please lobby your MPS.

Azaima A.
Azaima A3 years ago

The animals always suffer when someone's profit is at stake

Peter Aldus
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Mary T.
Mary T4 years ago

signed the petition, very upsetting

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

marie jones
4 years ago

Please sign Brian May off Queen petition against badger cull. It is on VIVAS website. We have stopped the welsh one, they are vaccinating instead. Thanks

Sharon Barnes
Sharon Barnes4 years ago

A huge petition on the government petitions site against the badger cull forced a debate in parliament.
Overwhelmingly MPs voted against the cull.
The speaker of the house said this vote was not binding? why not?

Someone please tell me:
a. What is the point of the government petitions website?
b. Why was the vote not binding?

In other words if it is not just paying 'lipservice' to us the public then any debate and subsequent vote should be legally binding.

The public do not want a Cull. It is only the government who wants this.
They have ignored what we (whom they are supposed to represent) want.

More investigation into vaccinating cattle instead of killing badgers should go ahead.

Karen B.
Past Member 5 years ago

Kill the badgers to save the cattle . . . . . .
Save the cattle to kill so we can eat them . . . .
Anybody see the insanity in this besides me ?
No? Well just lock me up then . . . .

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago

A Little Good News

Kris T.
Kris Thomas6 years ago

Someone should tell the government that bovine tb is massively aggravated by stress so the proposed cull will only make an increase in the number of badgers with tb due to the increased stress from being hunted. A trial cull was done in the last couple of years and the results showed that cases of bovine tb increased in area's that had seen badger culls. Conservatives just want to kill the countryside!!!!!!!!!!!