Friday, 9 March 2018

The fight for Badgers goes on.

This week a government consultation opened that could pave the way for the badger cull to be extended to Warwickshire. I am appalled at the risk to badgers in general and to my badgers in particular, such as the chap in the picture.

I decided I need to renew my fight and have started with letters to both my local MP and Mr Gove the Minister of DEFRA.

I would like to urge everyone to take 5 minutes to email their local MP and ask for the cull to be suspended.

A copy of my email is shown below and I will update you all on any responses.

Dear MP,
I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the continuing Badger cull as a means to control Bovine Tuberculosis and the threat that the cull zone is possibly going to be expanded to Warwickshire.

This is not the first time I have written to the government, nor to representatives of the Conservative and Labour parties and never received a satisfactory response. There are a number of key issues I would like you to address as my representative in parliament.

1.  The fact that the cull continues despite its efficacy being in question regarding the scientific validity of the scheme.

2. That results and success criteria are not made public.

3. That although much is made of Biosecurity the UK as a whole is lagging in its adoption and several new outbreaks of TB can be directly linked to the cattle movements and not Badgers. The NFU are not pulling their weight in fighting this disease.

4. That the premise of the cull as a means to remove a reservoir of TB is flawed as it does not take into account other potential reservoirs.

5. There are extreme concerns regarding the welfare of Badgers being culled. The shooting policy does not appear to be a humane approach and the monitoring of culls seems extremely lacklustre.

6. That at the start of the cull Badgers shot as part of the programme were not assessed for the presence of bTB making it impossible to assess the extent of the disease in the wild population which would give excellent data upon which to assess success criteria.

7. The structure of the consultation covering the expansion of the zones restricts comments to only those directly – economically at risk from the cull. This does not take into account my social, ethical and scientific opposition to the expansion.

I would like to propose a moratorium to be placed on a cull with the focus placed on biosecurity with culls saved for targeted use only in extreme cases. Policy in this area should be scientifically led not ignored as is the current approach. With the exit from the EU there is potential for new legislation to strengthen both nature conservation, sustainable farming and rural productivity.

As a scientist and ecologist I am appalled at the way many decisions made in government ignore scientific advice preferring to focus on socio-economic factors only or pandering to pressure groups.
I hope that you at least agree with some of my points and that you are able to promote the agenda to revisit the need and mechanism of the Badger cull in the fight against bTB. There is a way that the cattle industry can remain profitable and coexist with the environment, but at the moment the emphasis is too skewed and badly balanced.

Thank you for your time in reading this and in anticipation of your response and action.