Thursday, 29 August 2013

Badger cull is simply bonkers

Despite being cloaked in secrecy, the government’s badger cull have began this week.

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

I’ve made no secret of my opposition to this cull. In March 2011, I went to 10 Downing Street with the Badger Protection League to hand in a large petition against the cull. It appears that my view is shared by the vast majority of local people.

There is a healthy badger population in my constituency. 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.”

The government's own analysis says that it will cost more than it saves, put a huge strain on police given the expected protests, and will actually spread bovine TB in the short term as badgers are disrupted by the shooting. That’s why Cameron and Clegg’s determination to press ahead is simply bonkers.

Of course, having softened people up with a badger cull, the government will then be able to move on to its real agenda – its commitment to lifting the ban on fox-hunting.