The Hereford Badger Group held a protest yesterday (21st November 2015) against the possible rollout of the government’s badger cull to the county next year.
Dominic Dyer, Badger Trust chief executive, Mark Jones, a vet with Born Free Foundation and Lynn Sawyer, an activist, all spoke to the crowds who turned out to make their voice heard.
Despite the lack of success –on any criteria – of the government’s previous ‘trial’culls in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset, it still seems hell bent on rolling out the flawed and cruel measure to other counties.
Lynn Sawyer urged local people to get out and get to know their local setts, to keep an eye on them and report any unusual or suspect activity BEFORE any cull starts, so that they can be well prepared to defend their local badgers if and when the time comes.
The BBC reported on its website that campaigners started the march around town at 1pm, followed by speakers and discussion at Castle Green.
Nigel Tolly, from West Midlands Badger Group, which joined the protest, said they wanted to recruit people to take part in a lawful, peaceful protest during a cull if it was rolled out to Hereford.
"The idea of the event is to bring public awareness of the fact that a badger cull could be rolled out into Hereford next year," he said.
Writing on the Guardian's Letters page on Wednesday, scientific experts said the badger cull is flawed, and called for it to end.
Professors John Krebs and John Bourne, and Dr Chris Cheeseman, among many other experts in their field wrote an open letter calling on the government to reconsider its decision to continue and extend the badger culls.
You can read their letter here.
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 , it’s 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.
A badger cull has begun today (Friday 4th September) in Dorset, for the first time, and has restarted in Gloucestershire and Somerset for the third year running.
Despite the evidence that the culls so far have been ineffective, as well as inhumane, the cull has been rolled out to Dorset.
An article on the Guardian's website quotes Claire Bass of Humane Society International: “For a third year running these supposedly protected animals will be subjected to a cruel and pointless death, scapegoats of the government’s failed cattle TB policy. We will continue to campaign to end this inhumane and unscientific massacre.”
Campaigners in Gloucestershire have already reported finding a badger with a gunshot wound, which died shortly afterwards.
You can read Damian Carrington's full story here.
Our vaccination programme this year has been a big success so far. With another eight badgers vaccinated against TB at a site just over one week ago, the total now stands at 34, and there is one more site to go.
Our team of qualified vaccinators has done the work free of charge to the farmers who signed up for the scheme. Shropshire Badger Group believes that our badger vaccination approach offers a positive response to a relatively limited problem, in place of the discredited government cull that has indiscriminately killed many perfectly healthy badgers that would otherwise have boosted overall immunity in the badger population to bovine TB.
As an entirely self-funding small local charity, we welcome any offers of financial or practical help from businesses and members of the public in order to further our objectives. For more information please leave a message on our helpline: 01743 271999, or use the contact form on our website.
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