Badger Culling Controversy
A controversy is brewing in the UK about badgers and Tuberculosis in cattle (bTB). In effort to control bTB, a Minister in the Welsh Assembly recently announced that they intend to have a government-led slaughter of badgers in West Wales, reports Care For The Wild International. Meanwhile, Care for the Wild International and other members of the Badger Protection League handed in a 16,000 signatures petition to 10 Downing Street today, as part of the effort to persuade the Westminster Government not to reintroduce badger culling to England.
The Badger Protection League claims that published scientific papers have confirmed that a previous badger culling campaign did not result in any meaningful long-term benefits to the control of tuberculosis in cattle. Instead, changes to the rules on cattle testing and movement have already resulted in big reductions in TB in cattle across the country, says Mark Jones, Director of Care for the Wild International. So the cattle controls are working without a single badger being killed, yet the Minister is still determined to engage in wildlife slaughter, reports the League’s press release.
The Badger Trust launched a successful legal challenge when the Welsh government tried to introduce similar badger culling plans in 2010. So once again they might head off to court to stop the cull.
The fate of about 1,000 badgers in Wales hangs in the balance. Killing that many badgers will impact ecosystems and thus other wildlife, even while being reportedly unlikely to contribute to the elimination of bTB in cattle. So while the tuberculosis in cattle is a real problem that costs taxpayers large amounts of money each year, it would be good if the science was consulted which is likely to suggest that badgers are not at fault, and that the cattle testing and moving rules need to be strengthened instead of carrying out the cull.