Badger culling – the first licence is issued

19 Sep

Brian May won’t be pleased…… 100,000 badgers to be culled – Yes the first licence for a large-scale cull of badgers has been issued. Badgers will be killed over a 300 square-kilometre area in west Gloucestershire to help curb the scourge of TB in cattle.

So, can we see this as a positive step? Owen Paterson (environment secretary) says he hopes so. However, can culling be proven to reduce the risk and spread of disease? Scientists who carried out a decade long culling trial say NO.

So is this a ‘bloody and pointless slaughter’ (Mark Jones, Humane Society International). Can these problems with animal disease really be ‘ironed out’ by the culling of others?

Paterson, a strong supporter of the cull, said: “I want to see a prosperous, healthy badger population living alongside healthy cattle. We would all like to have a vaccine but we have not got one. So we should use the measures used effectively in other countries to bear down on the disease in wildlife and in cattle.” Of course it would be ideal for badgers and cows to live in perfect rural harmony, so what about giving vaccinations a go?

The RSPB’s Martin Harper believes vaccination to be the best hope. “We have never been convinced that the best way to help farmers is to force them to foot the bill for a contentious cull that is only expected to reduce outbreaks by about 16%….’

Animal rights campaigners are determined to halt the trials through protests at the cull sites, whose location is not being made public. Volunteers plan to patrol the zones and stop the badgers coming into the open.

Hmmm will culling curb the TB crisis – what do you think?

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