Monday, 28 March 2011

Betts Backs Badgers

 Clive Betts MP will be at 10 Downing Street today with the Badger Protection League to hand in a 10,000 signature petition against the culling of badgers.

Whilst the Government is still to a final decision on killing thousands of badgers as a strategy to control Bovine TB in cattle in England, the Welsh Assembly has already voted to go ahead.

Clive Betts said:

“There is a long-standing problem with bovine TB in the UK. But, there is a huge amount of contradictory evidence about whether badgers give TB to cattle or cattle give it to badgers. 

There is also no scientific evidence that culling badgers actually deals with the problem of TB in cattle; indeed a past trial shows it could actually make it worse.

That was why the last Labour Government decided not to cull badgers, but to look for vaccination as a long term solution, as there is considerable scientific evidence that that policy would work

But now the coalition government is proposing that any landowner can apply for a licence to cull badgers. Leading scientists and ecologists have described the proposals as fundamentally scientifically flawed.”

Pauline Kidner of the Badger Protection League said
“The government should not underestimate the extent of feeling against this ill conceived plan. I think the Government will be stunned by the response from people all over the country if they go ahead with this ill-conceived scheme.”

Mark Jones, Director of Care for the Wild International, said
”We all want to see a healthy countryside for both livestock and wild animals. Cattle strategies introduced in 2008 have already substantially reduced the incidence of Bovine TB in cattle, without any badgers being slaughtered. The secret to controlling TB in cattle lies in stringent testing and restrictions on cattle movements, and the introduction of vaccines (which are currently being tested) for both cattle and badgers.”

Clive Betts continued:
“There is a healthy badger population in my constituency, particularly around Mosborough and Woodhouse. Although many local residents have never seen them, a number of local groups and individuals have been quietly ensuring that their habitat is protected. These groups are very concerned about the cull proposals and the potential impact on local wildlife.”