We must and will stop the badger cull. We must defend one of our beautiful wild animals - we have to make this government understand they cannot ride roughshod over our nature, putting vested interest of some humans before the interests of all animals, human or badger, in this country.
I am not anti-farmer and I recognise some are in a desperate plight. But the science and moral sense shows a badger cull will not rid herds of bovine TB. 11,000 badgers were killed doing the research that showed culls don't work. That is appalling in itself. If the Government keeps on this current path of ignoring the science, those deaths will have been in vain and thousands more badgers will be killed just to get the Government off a political hook with one of their close allies, the powerful farming lobby.
Because that is what it must be, a cynical political ploy. Why else would the Government pursue a policy line which conflicts with its independent scientific advice, morality and public opinion?
Can we make the Government change its mind? To steal from the President of the USA; "YES WE CAN!" The substance of our arguments is science and moral based. It is an unassailable case and we must promote it with confidence. How we go about doing it must take into account that this is a big political issue and must be tackled in a political way.
What do I mean by political? To be clear, I do not mean party political. We would campaign against this policy regardless of the political persuasion of the Government. What I mean is we should put our case in a way which has resonance with politicians and means something to them. We must reach out to all politicians equally in all parties. It is a simple truth of parliamentary democracy that a government is made from political parties. So key decision makers, Ministers and PMs are therefore from a specific political party. So in necessity, we must give special priority to supporting from the PM down to see the light on this. It will be difficult, but it can be done. Let's help them see this as making a "navigational correction" on the road to eradicating bovine TB rather than a "u-turn"!
How do we go about it? First, we build on the petitions, judicial review, Bern Convention, fantastic public meetings, lobbying, media activity etc that has happened and continues to happen. Second, we have many voices saying the same thing; a strong alliance of many organisations, including the League, is developing under "Kill the Cull". New heights of cooperation and collaboration are emerging, which will add to the success of defending all our wildlife as well as badgers. It is not a "controlling" partnership; its aim is to enable everyone to do their bit to stop the cull. And you don't have to be a member to get out there and defend our badgers!
Get out there and spread the message with confidence because, thirdly, we have to influence and give voice to the power of public opinion and make sure MPs of all political persuasion know what their constituents and voters think about the cruel cull.
Finally, we have to convince the decision makers that this is the wrong decision. Science plays a part in this, but we have to ensure they hear sense wherever they are or whatever they are doing. When they are in their constituencies, in Parliament, being interviewed by the media, ask friends round for dinner etc, we need to give them the opportunity to change their minds!
Practically, what can we do? The "Kill the Cull!" parnership is urgently planning key initiatives, including how we can support people and groups to campaign locally and nationally. Watch this space. But don't wait for us, go for it! For example, write to your local paper, get on the television, write and go to the surgery of your local MP, talk to your local Councillor and ask what the council's policy is on culling on its land, tell your friends and ask them to tell their friends, organise local meetings etc. I know many of our supporters are themselves seasoned campaigners, but for those of you new to this, have confidence and if you need help and advice please ring HQ and there will be more support ready soon which will be easily accessible to everyone.
Is this just aimed at our friends in the West Country? They are on the front line because the pilot culls may happen there as early as September. But this decision has been made nationally and will be changed nationally. So everybody, even in Nothern Ireland, Wales and Scotland where a different approach is being taken, can do something to help.
We can kill the cull!