Glos Wounded Badger Patrol

Posted on 22. Oct, 2014 by in Environment & Nature, Featured, Politics & Campaigns

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Cheltenham Green Party Parliamentary candidate Adam Van Coevorden joins others from Glos in teh Wounded Badger Patrol. He writes:

Hopefully this is the last we will see of the coalition government’s ridiculous and deliberately misleading scheme to kill 70% of a protected species, but it’s too early to be complacent. They’ve ignored science, public opinion and economic viability before and they can do it again. If the badger cull were to be rolled out across England it would not only be an absolute disaster for our wildlife and ecosystems, but would also be worse than useless at controlling the spread of bovine TB. Disrupting badgers in the way the pilot culls have done is actually making the situation worse, as badgers won’t return to a sett that’s been disturbed and this pushes them into new areas.

It was intensively farmed cattle that originally infected badgers with TB, not the other way around, and most TB infections are still between cattle – mostly in dairy herds, where animals are often overcrowded and overworked. Badgers are only responsible for about 5% of infections. The future of the cattle industry will not be assured by destroying badgers; quite the opposite, as they are being used as an excuse to avoid bringing in better regulations for the dairy industry. The way to stop TB spreading is tighter biosecurity, fewer livestock movements and better testing systems within herds.

The Welsh government’s successful badger vaccination programme has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of infected cattle slaughtered. As the majority of badgers killed in the Gloucestershire pilot culls have been trapped and shot, rather than killed by free shooting, they might just as well have been vaccinated and released; DEFRA are not testing any of the badgers killed during the pilot culls – they are quite likely to have all been perfectly healthy.

The badger cull began as a cynical PR exercise to win Tory votes in rural areas and ensure support from the National Farmers Union and the Countryside Alliance. It’s a cruel and frankly irresponsible attempt to get out of passing measures that would actually make dairy farming itself a far more humane enterprise. It’s been a catastrophic failure. The government should admit their mistake, and not dig themselves any deeper into this immoral, expensive and counterproductive exercise.

With special thanks to Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting http://www.glosagainstbadgershooting.org

http://adamvancoevorden.wordpress.com

Follow me on Twitter – @AdamForGreenMP

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Director and Co-Founder of Stroud Community TV

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