Northern Ireland rejection of full badger cull cautiously welcomed by charity
The League Against Cruel Sports has cautiously welcomed an announcement in Northern Ireland, which outlines a strategy to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB).
The Minister for Agriculture, Michelle O’Neill MLA, today outlined plans to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee to implement a trap, test and vaccinate or remove programme in order to control the disease. The Committee were told that no healthy badgers would be culled as part of this process. Of all the intervention options, this is the most benign.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said: “We are glad that the Northern Ireland Assembly is taking a sensible approach to tackling such a complex issue. However, we will continue to seek assurances that healthy badgers will not be culled in the process.”
It is not yet known what the test sizes will be or what level of welfare standards will be applied in the trapping process for vaccination. The League will be seeking more detail of the strategy over the coming weeks and months.
The Northern Ireland announcement follows the Welsh Government’s rejection of badger culling earlier this year, instead opting for a five year vaccination programme.
Joe Duckworth adds: “Today’s decision means that the Governments of both Wales and Northern Ireland have rejected indiscriminate badger culling, which is an unsupported approach to tackling bovine TB and one that will leave the majority of the TB problem present even if it reaches its most optimistic targets.
“The method of controlled shooting has never been tested and there are serious welfare concerns. The League Against Cruel Sports continues to call for the vaccination of badgers against bovine TB, which is a much more humane and effective means of dealing with this disease.”
The Badger Trust, whom the League are working closely with on this issue, generated the legal challenge to the Coalition Government’s decision to introduce badger culling in England - initially in the trial areas of West Somerset and West Gloucestershire. We currently await the result of the judicial review, which is expected later this month.
Joe Duckworth concludes: “This issue is yet another example of how the Coalition Government is out of step with the devolved nations in terms of animal welfare issues. We hope that the judicial review in England will reach the same conclusion as the Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments and reject this barbaric practice in England as well.”
Notes to Editors
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