Badgers: Black day for animal welfare

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Saturday June 1 will rank as a black day in the history of animal welfare.

On that day, the Government began its assault on the badger population in two selected areas of England before rolling out an intensive slaughter of badgers throughout the rest of the country.

The reason for this inhumane plan is the grossly simplistic and mistaken belief that a mass cull is the solution to the problem of bovine TB. It is mistaken because, by targeting badgers as the cause of the disease, the Government, against all the most reliable scientific evidence, is permitting the shooting of 70 per cent of badgers in the cull areas over four years.

At best this will result in reducing bovine TB by a mere 16 per cent. However it is far more likely to lead to the spread of the disease as any infected badgers flee to other areas to escape the guns. In hot spot infection areas only 16 per cent of badgers are infected, many live normal lives and breed with the infection, those who are ill will separate from the clan and live alone, they will not be at the bait areas to be shot, only healthy new cubs and adults will be killed or worse wounded to die a lingering death back in the setts. This figure is from a 10 year independent scientific trial and was taken from hot spot areas.

It is simplistic because, by demonising the badger, it ignores the unwelcome fact that intensive rearing of cattle gives free rein to the spread of the disease, exacerbated by the lack of adequate movement controls and effective biosecurity routines. The vets testing the cattle have only an 84 per cent accurate reading and many cattle are returned to the herd infected.

Why? It costs far more to have a blood test. Money and politics is the reason for this proposed slaughter of our wildlife.

I urge your readers to add their names to the petition to be found at www.teambadger.org

Jane Payne

Bickley Barn

Langdale End