On Saturday 8th February we will be showing our feelings about any proposed cull in Shropshire with a march and speeches in Shrewsbury.
Owen Paterson has made clear his wish to see pilot culls extended to Shropshire this year, despite the fact that the culls in Gloucester and Somerset have been widely seen as a monumental failure on all counts.
You can make your voice heard by joining us in The Quarry Park, 1 St Chad's Terrace, Shrewsbury SY1 1RN at 1pm on 8th February.
Speakers in attendance will be Dominic Dyer of Care For The Wild, Jim Ashley, chairman of the Shropshire Badger Group, and Drew Pratten, wildlife campaigner. Join us and please spread the word via Facebook and Twitter!
A report in the Guardian today (23 January) says that according to a new scientific survey, the number of active badger setts has doubled over the past 30 years. But the scientists say that no conclusion can be drawn from this that the rise is responsible for the increase in bovine TB in cattle.
The population increase is said to be due to the protection badgers have enjoyed since 1992, and perhaps in part due to milder winters. The survey has been carried out over the past two winters, and the total number of clans is now thought to be around 70,000. The increase has largely taken place in England, while in Wales the population has not changed.
Johanna Judge, at the government's Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency who led the research published in the journal Scientific Reports, said: "There is not a straightforward linear relationship between the number of badgers and the level of TB, so we can't draw any reliable conclusions about badgers and cattle and TB from this work."
To read the full article by Patrick Barkham in the Guardian, click here.
As we look forward to 2014, the threat of further culling hangs over our badgers in many places in Britain, including in Shropshire. That is what Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, wishes for in 2014.
In an article on today's (31 December) Guardian website, some of its writers declare what they wish for in 2014. Patrick Barkham, author of Badgerlands, published in 2013, says: "I would love to see just one glorious occasion where people choose nature over profit – a piece of ground not fracked, a runway not built, a badger not culled." You can read the rest of his comment, and the full article, here.
The pilot badger cull in Gloucestershire has been called off, after Natural England revoked the licence because of the failure to meet the new targets, Damian Carrington reports today (Friday 29 November) in the Guardian.
Marksmen failed to kill enough badgers to meet the drastically reduced targets. With the licence revoked, the cull will end at noon on Saturday 30 November, three weeks earlier than planned.
Instead of killing 70% of badgers in the area within six weeks, just 30% were killed, leading to an eight-week extension.
Mark Jones, a Gloucestershire vet and executive director of Humane Society International-UK, said: "I am much relieved the government's badger cull fiasco is finally over, for the time being at least. We hope the government will now do the decent thing and admit that killing badgers to control TB in cattle is a ludicrous and inhumane idea."
For the full story, click here.
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