Tag Archives: brian may

The debate badgers on…

6 Jun

On Wednesday the 5th of June, the commons debate on the call to drop the proposed pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset over the summer were rejected by 299 votes to 250.

The government says that the spread of Bovine TB, which is known to be spread by badgers is costing farmers and the wider economy more than £500m.

Farmers and supporters of the cull have said that they have had enough and are at ‘their wits end’. Though others have questioned the true effectiveness and have called for alternatives.

It was reported that 28,00 cattle were destroyed last year due to the infection of Bovine TB.

The government has also said that, ‘Scientific Tests’, have demonstrated a link between infected badgers and cattle. They added that culling significantly reduces incidents of Bovine Tb.

But Animal Right activists are planning to take direct action to stop the slaughter of more than 5,000 badgers, who will be shot in the open without being first trapped in cages, (which is the current practice). They argue that vaccinating badgers would be a more effective approach and to them a more humane way to stop the spread of Bovine TB.

Conservative MP for The Cotswolds, Geoffrey Clinton-Brown has said, “badgers could become ‘vicious’ when caught in cages, and that it would be a non-starter to vaccinate a large number of TB ‘hotspots’.

But on the flip side, Labour MP for Derby North commented, “there was no scientific evidence to suggest that the culling of these animals would have the desired effect”.  ” In fact in contrast it would result in animals ‘dying in agony’ and further enraging public opinion.

Andrew George who is the Lib Dem MP for St Ives, has suggested that “ministers are willing to back a vaccination trial in Cornwall, which he said would cost around £2m”. He continued by saying, “surely this would be cheaper than having to police the ongoing demonstrations against the badger culls, and that animals welfare groups could contribute to some of the cost of the experiments”.

The head of the charity ‘Care for the Wild’, Philip Mansbridge has accused the government of “offering farmers false hope”. “Common sense shows that culling is simply a ‘no-win’ solution and that  the killing will go on and on, without a real dent being made in this devastating disease”.

So the battle rages on…..

Will there ever be a solution, that is practical, workable and productive for all concerned?

Are the government treading a dangerous line in solving this ongoing issue and the devastation, that is costing millions of pounds?

I can see this battle and debate for all those involved raging on and on, with no real outcome or solution reached that will please all sides.

So…. watch this space…. I am sure we haven’t heard the end of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

Badger culling and Brian May

28 Aug

Brian May of Queen

Well, an unholy row is brewing between Brian May of Queen and the NFU.  Why is this?  It’s that old chestnut, badger culling to help prevention of bovine TB that I have been blogging about for some time now.  The pilot sites have been approved, a legal objection has been over ruled so it looks as if a culling pilot will commence.

Back to the row – Brian May wrote an article in the Mail on Sunday which was around voting Conservative (which he did) and the approval of badger culling.  Mr May intimated that he would not vote for David Cameron in the future as he has allowed the badger culling to go ahead and that this is a “particularly nasty kind of Conservatism”.  He also said that anyone that disagreed with the culling was branded as a ‘nutter’ by the NFU and Countryside Alliance.

The NFU has responded that it is wrong to politicize the debate rather than treating it as an animal welfare issue particularly as Mr May linked the culling to blood sports – hare coursing and hunting etc…

Well, the jury is out on whether the pilot culls will work and then if they will be extended, but one thing I am certain of is that we haven’t heard the last from Brian May yet.

Aside

More about badger culling; update

20 Jan

Well, the badger culling pilot has been given the green light.  The first areas will be west Gloucestershire and west Somerset and is likely to start in August for a period of 6 weeks.  This will just be a start and is likely to progress to other areas and the aim is to reduce badger populations inside the cull zones by at least 70%.  Defra anticipates allowing 10 new cull zones each year.

Why has this been given the go-ahead?  The aim is to reduce tuberculosis in cattle and there have been strong debates for and against culling; Brian May of Queen has been particularly vociferous as a voice against badger culling.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that “culling in highly affected areas can constrain a disease that is costing about £100m per year and necessitates the death of tens of thousands of cattle”.  However, opponents, including scientists who spent a decade researching the issue, argue that culling cannot be a cost-effective way of tackling the disease and that it may destroy the badgers’ social structure so that they may move to other areas thus spreading the tuberculosis bacterium to other farms.

I wonder if we are just a bit sentimental about the badger, perhaps more so than deer or moles and if that alters our judgement.  I am going to sit on the fence in my blog about my opinion on culling, but my opinion is based on the effect on wildlife and whether I feel any cull would be effective anyway.Image