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The Badger Trust has today (3rd August) issued a press release detailing a new short film on YouTube in which Steve Backshall speaks out to oppose further culling.

Stop ignoring science and killing badgers to keep certain lobbies happy, says naturalist and broadcaster Steve Backshall”As the government prepares to make a decision on the continuation and possible extension of its highly controversial badger culling policy, leading naturalist and broadcaster Steve Backshall has given his support to the Badger Trust in opposing any more killing of badgers. In a film exclusively produced for the Badger Trust Steve Backshall said:  "Ignoring science and going back to the dark ages culling badgers to keep certain lobbies happy, is a terrible idea. 

Science is how the modern world works , its how our cars drive and how our smart phones work. Relying on the scientific method is what makes our world go round.

The way the government is doing things at the moment, small scale badly organised badger culls, is making the problem of bovine TB worse, this has been proven by science.

The only way you can really effectively contain bovine TB is not through badger culling, but by improved animal husbandry and through the development of a cattle vaccine."

Responding to the film the CEO of the Badger Trust said:  "We are hugely grateful to Steve Backshall for using his expertise and influence to support our campaign to stop the badger cull, which has been a disastrous failure on scientific, economic and humaneness grounds.  

Two years of badger culling have cost the tax payer in the region of £15 million, the most expensive wildlife cull of its kind on record. However, the real scandal is that nearly all the badgers killed will not have had TB. Defra’s own data suggests just 1.6% are capable of passing on the disease whilst 85% are likely to have been completely TB free*. The government’s continued refusal to test the badgers for TB not only makes this a ‘blind’ cull but also means we will never be able to say whether it has worked.

The pilot culls were set up to test the efficiency and humaneness of free shooting of badgers at night by trained marksmen. On this basis they have also been a failure, as free shooting has proved highly ineffective and has been found to be inhumane by both the government's own Independent Expert Panel and more recently the British Veterinary Association. The only way to beat bovine TB is to stop playing the badger blame game and to follow the Welsh Government approach, by focusing on disease control in cattle. The Chief Vet in Wales recently announced that new incidents of TB in cattle in Wales had fallen by 28% resulting in a 45% cut in the number of cattle being slaughtered for TB. This leaves 94% of the Welsh herd now free of TB, without the culling of any badgers.

The film can be viewed on this YouTube link.

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