Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Boost badgers; cull the coalition!

Not satisfied with launching attacks on students, council services, ordinary working families and many more, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have now decided to wage war on badgers.

The government has issued a badger culling licence to a consortium of landowners in Gloucestershire and a second licence will be issued to farmers in Somerset within days.

You might think that this might be justified if bovine TB was to be eradicated, but when you learn that the objective is to reduce TB in cattle by just 16% over nine years in the immediate area, you soon realise that the scheme is complete madness.

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. As a result, plans to begin culling in Wales were recently abandoned by the Welsh Assembly in favour of a vaccination policy.

Now, Lord Krebs, the government's most respected scientific adviser says that the coalition government’s scheme is crazy. Not believing that anyone with a hint of common sense, let alone a full understanding of the science, could possibly go ahead with these proposals, he went public with his views. "I would go down the vaccination and bio-security route rather than this crazy scheme that may deliver very small advantage, may deliver none.”

The cull is bad for farmers, bad for taxpayers, bad for wildlife and especially bad for badgers.