The British government appears to be giving in to pressure from farmers, rather than using the best scientific advice to stop badgers spreading TB to cattle across the country.
The RSPCA and other animal welfare groups have been to Brussels to get support for a ban on British farmers killing badgers, and to press for measures towards an EU approved vaccination.
A British government pilot scheme allowing certain farmers to “free shoot” badgers in prescribed areas was set up on Monday, September 17th.
This causes the badger population to scatter over a wide area, making it harder to control the disease.
I fully understand the desperation of farmers affected by this devastating disease. Tuberculosis in cows is a terrible disease that needs to be controlled, but this cull isn’t the way to do it.
The use of vaccination rather than shooting has already been shown to significantly reduce the disease in the badger population. It is more sustainable and humane. Even the former Coalition Government Defra Minister said that vaccination is the best long-term approach to tackle the disease.
North West Labour MEP, Arlene McCarthy said: “There’s been recent British research on cattle vaccines and Labour MEPs will work hard to put pressure on the European Commission to speed up the process to allow the use of new vaccines”.
Lord Krebs, the Oxford scientist who instigated the previous Labour government’s scientific trial, has described the government’s cull as “a crazy scheme”.
He says: “If the cull wipes out whole badger populations, this would put the United Kingdom in breach of the Berne Convention on wildlife protection as it is a protected species under both European and UK law”.
Labour Candidate ,
Pendle East Division,
Lancashire County Council
The proposed cull was postponed until June by the Government following a dramatic increase in the number of badgers - ED.