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Drop the cull, Mr Cameron

Posted: Monday 24th March 2014 by TheWildlifeTrustsBlogger

Badger vaccination cpt Dr Gordon McGlone

Dr Gordon McGlone offers five reasons why culling badgers to control bovine TB in cattle is the wrong strategy...

If you feel, as I do, that culling badgers will not make any significant contribution to controlling this serious cattle disease, now is the time to let the Prime Minister know your view

On 13 March, 219 Members of Parliament voted in support of the motion ‘that this House believes that the pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have decisively failed … and urges the Government to halt the existing culls and granting of any further licences, pending development of alternative strategies to eradicate bovine TB and promote a healthy badger population.’

Only one, Philip Hollobone MP (Con, Kettering), voted against the motion in support of badger culling.  Worryingly, this overwhelming vote by MPs against the badger cull does not itself change Government policy and further badger culls may still proceed in England.

If you feel, as I do, that culling badgers will not make any significant contribution to controlling this serious cattle disease, now is the time to let the Prime Minister David Cameron know your view.

Your voice counts.  There will be no second chance to prevent the needless culling of thousands more badgers in 2014.

Here are the five simple reasons why culling badgers to control bovine TB in cattle is the wrong strategy:

  1. Lord Krebs, the distinguished scientist and public servant who oversaw the £50 million field trial experiments of badger culling, concluded that: "I would go down the vaccination and biosecurity route rather than this crazy scheme that may deliver very small advantage, may deliver none. And it's very hard to see how Defra are going to collect the crucial data to assess whether it's worth going ahead with free shooting at all".
  2. John Bourne, the expert veterinarian who independently reviewed the work of Prof Krebs’ team, said “while badgers are clearly a source of cattle TB, careful evaluation of our own and others’ data indicates that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.”
  3. Bovine TB levels in Northern Ireland, whilst for historic reasons still higher than in the Republic of Ireland, are falling at a faster rate with no badger culling “as a result of our eradication programme, there has been progress made in reducing TB incidence in cattle in Northern Ireland”.
  4. The costs of culling badgers in the pilot areas in Gloucestershire and Somerset in 2013 have been estimated at over £4,000 per animal.
  5. By September 2013, over 304,000 had people signed a HM Government e-petition against a badger cull and MPs have now voted overwhelmingly against badger culling . 

The Wildlife Trusts see both sides of the painful bovine TB problem.  When I worked for the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, we had three bovine TB ‘herd breakdowns’ that affected our tenants’ freedom to manage their cattle.  That is why I developed the first of the Wildlife Trust badger vaccination programmes.

Culling badgers is not an effective way to control bovine TB in the national herd.  Let Mr Cameron know that you oppose this policy and that you wish to see a sustainable and effective control of this serious agricultural disease.
Please fill in the e-action form today.

You can read The Wildlife Trusts' media release on the launch of the e-action here

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