The Badger Cull began on Monday. As many as 5,000 badgers will be killed, driven by the dairy industry, across Gloucestershire and Somerset. The scheme will continue every year for the next four years.
Labour's Environment Secretary, Mary Creagh, said the cull was not the answer. "The government's own figures show it will cost more than it saves and it will spread bovine TB in the short term as the badgers are disturbed and spread infection to neighbouring herds. We agree with the scientists that it has no meaningful contribution to play in tackling bovine TB."
Dairy farmers argue that badgers are responsible for passing bovine TB to cows, and that a badger cull would help prevent the killing of thousands of dairy cows every year. The fact that cow-to-cow transmission is more common and is not being properly dealt with gets lost in the clamour for a badger cull.
Moreover, many more dairy cows are killed each year because of lameness, mastitis or infertility than are killed because of bovine TB. Yet dairy farmers focus on the disease where they can scapegoat wildlife, rather than on the more devastating conditions that point to their own failure to improve welfare.
At Animal Equality we are appalled to learn that the mass shooting of badgers has begun. Thousands of innocent badgers will now suffer and die in a completely unjustified slaughter. There's no scientific or economic justification for the cull and it may make the spread (of TB) worse not better. Neither cows nor badgers will benefit, but farmers will be relieved, as the spotlight once again focuses on killing wildlife, instead of agreeing with scientists that a vaccination is the only sustainable way forward.
Please check to see if your MP has signed EDM 299. If not, please ask him or her to do so.
If you can get to Gloucestershire, even for one night, please contact the Wounded Badger Patrol. This dedicated group is walking the footpaths searching for any wounded animals who may need help. They are in full compliance with the injunction, so please join them.
The petition opposing the cull – the largest ever submitted via the government’s e-petition website – closes on 7th September, so please continue to collect signatures up until that date.