Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The government’s badger-cull policy is ‘still bonkers’

I have written here before about this government’s ridiculous badger-cull policy. ‘Bonkers’ is the politest epithet I can think of.

This week, the latest report of the government’s own Independent Expert Panel was leaked. Let me share just a couple of quotes to give you a flavour of what they had to say.

On humaneness:
It is extremely likely that between 7.4% and 22.8% of badgers that were shot at were still alive after 5 min, and therefore at risk of experiencing marked pain. We are concerned at the potential for suffering that these figures imply.”
The target was for no more than 5% of badger taking five minutes to die.

On effectiveness:
“Controlled shooting in conjunction with cage trapping, over the 6-week period of the pilot culls, failed to remove at least 70% of the pre-cull badger population from either pilot area. It is extremely likely that combined shooting and cage trapping removed less than 48.1% of the badgers in Somerset and less than 39.1% of the badgers in Gloucestershire.”

Not only is the policy completely ineffective, it is costing £1m a year already.

Bluntly, Conservative Secretary of State Owen Paterson has put posturing before good policy, secrecy before transparency, conflict before consensus, and prejudice before science. His policy is now so discredited and embarrassing that there won’t even be any independent scientific oversight of the next culls. It’s a disgrace.

These culls have been bad for farmers, bad for the taxpayer and bad for our wildlife.
What is surprising is that Liberal Democrat MPs are consistently supporting the government’s ridiculous policy.

Do the badgers have to put on bright clothing and turn up at Liberal Democrat HQ to picket Nick Clegg before the Liberal Democrats change their minds?