Friday, 7 October 2016

What have the Tories got against wildlife?

Two weeks ago, the Conservative government announced that it was ‘rolling out’ its badger cull to parts of Cornwall, Herefordshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset.

It isn’t surprising that the government didn’t want to disclose the facts and figures whilst Parliament was sitting. Cowardly Conservative Ministers waited until the Parliamentary recess before announcing its plans and some of the statistics of its futile policy.

After killing more than 1500 badgers in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset over the last three years, it has now revealed that it expects more than 10,000 badgers to be killed in this year’s cull. It cost an average of more than £1200 for each badger that was killed last year.

There is not a shred of scientific evidence to support this serial killing. It was not even supported by the government’s own Chief Scientific Adviser.

Professor Rosie Woodroffe of the Zoological Society of London said these plans would be “hugely costly for farmers and taxpayers” and with no evidence to support them. She said “… the government has released no evidence that farmer-led culling is helping to control cattle TB. Since this is the fourth year of culling in the pilot areas, and benefits were expected to emerge after four years, I can't understand why the government didn't wait for the results of the pilots before rolling out culling on such a massive scale."

Now, not satisfied with badgers, it has been revealed that the Conservatives are planning a fresh vote on repealing the fox hunting ban.

Theresa May supported fox hunting during her leadership campaign and the new Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said that she was “absolutely committed” to holding a vote on repealing the ban.

Despite the fact that opinion polls confirm that the vast majority of British people think that banning fox-hunting is a settled issue, it seems the Conservatives are determined to pander to a small group of blood-sports enthusiasts.

Far from being settled, people will need to make their voices heard loudly again to prevent the re-introduction of, as Oscar Wilde said, the unspeakable pursuing the inedible.