Government turns its back on science in badger cull decision
Animal welfare charity disgusted by costs to police badger cull
A leading UK wildlife charity has expressed dismay at the government’s decision to give the go ahead for a badger cull. Following today’s announcement badgers will be culled under license in parts of south west England as part of trials to prevent the spread of bovine TB. The cull will be paid for by farmers and allows for the shooting of badgers which could result in serious welfare problems.
It is estimated the cost of policing the trials will amount to a staggering £80 million which the League Against Cruel Sports describes as “a complete waste of money”. The charity’s chief executive Joe Duckworth said: “This is a truly exceptional way to waste vast amounts of public money in policing badger culling trials which will be totally ineffective.” Mr Duckworth called today’s announcement “cowardly and misguided” and said: “The government has failed to act appropriately on this issue and in doing so has ignored the science, public opinion and past mistakes. This is a cowardly decision taken to appease the few who shout the loudest but sadly it will do very little to address the real problem.”
The League believes the government should be using every available resource to produce fully functional vaccines for both badgers and cattle as a long term, effective solution. Evidence clearly shows that culling is not an adequate measure in preventing the spread of bovine TB.
Mr Duckworth added: “This will prove a devastating blow for the farming community who desperately need practical help to deal with the effects of bovine TB. Unfortunately the government has given them false hope, which will prove to be extremely costly not only for farmers but also police forces and Britain’s wildlife.
Polling by YouGov for the League found that only 16% of people believe there should be a cull, whereas 67% - more then four times as many – believe that badgers should be vaccinated instead.
Notes to Editors
1. The Randomised Badger Culling Trial concluded that culling intensively would only reduce TB levels in cattle by between 12% to 16% and could increase the incidence of cattle TB by up to 25% in surrounding areas.
2. YouGov polled 2,064 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th - 18th May 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The polling was commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports and is attached.
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