26th Feb 2008: *** News Flash *** …. Kill badgers say MPs.
Update: 25th Feb 2008
The government will finally announce this Wednesday its decision on whether a badger cull will go ahead or not. Hillary Benn indicated to an NFU meeting that apart from scientific analysis on the effectiveness of such a measure he would also take into account public ‘feeling’ on such a move, to boos & jeers from the audience.
Thousands of badgers will be gassed or snared if the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) gets its way. Until the 1980’s, gassing of badger setts was routinely employed as a means of controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB). British farmers and successive UK governments have long believed that TB was spread by badgers and infecting the national dairy herd. Badgers are protected in the UK by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. They may not be killed, nor their setts interfered with, except on license from the government, the only exception being for TB control.
“… no practicable method of badger culling can reduce the incidence of cattle TB to any meaningful extent, and several culling approaches may make matters worse. The ISG also conclude that rigidly applied control measures targeted at cattle can reverse the rising incidence of disease, and halt its geographical spread”.
Despite compelling scientific evidence that badger culling is useless and in some scenarios worse than useless, and we’d be better off controlling TB through the cattle herds, the farming community is still calling for the elimination of badger populations. Although the work of gassing, snaring or shooting would have to be done under licences issued by the government, wildlife groups fear that this will be unpoliceable and result in widespread cruelty and suffering. Gassing is an indiscriminate killing method that affects many other wildlife species.