Monday, 28 March 2011

Don't vote for badger killers

Click this image then download and print it as a poster for your window

Our last post had a lot of news about badgers and suggestions for things you can in light of the upcoming wildlife slaughter. The incidences of bovine TB continue to drop without any badgers having been killed.

Pembrokeshire Against the Cull said:
"The latest Bovine tb statistics issued by DEFRA show a decline of 45% in cattle slaughtered due to Bovine tb in West Wales over the last two years. This is by far the most sustained and significant reduction seen for many years.

The introduction of annual testing, pre movement testing, then 6 monthly testing in the IAA together with hitting targets for quicker removal of infected cattle has brought bTB levels down significantly without culling any badgers.

This is a clear downward trend which should not be put at risk by a badger cull which we believe could cause an increase in bovine tb cases in our area. This is excellent news for farmers and taxpayers. If a badger cull had gone ahead last year Elin Jones would have been claiming that culling works, these figures show that the truth would have been very different."
As we covered last time, in the recent Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) 'consultation' on badger killing there were 13,431 responses: more than 11,300 were against a cull. Yet the voice of this massive majority is being ignored by Elin Jones and WAG.

The WAG elections are on 5th May. Politicians want your vote. Ask them about their policies on badger killing. Point out that all the scientific research has clearly proved that killing badgers increases the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis. Remind the candidates that bovine tuberculosis has been decreasing in Wales for over two years due to stricter controls and measures on cattle movements and testing. Put up our poster above. Culling is not needed.

We have written to all of the AMs. So far only Labour have replied, and they are a mixed bag - though at least they did reply. Alun Davies the Labour AM recently wrote to us saying that he supports the killing of badgers, despite the unscientific nature of the cull and all the evidence against the efficacy of one. On the other hand Joyce Watson is also a Labour AM and she is a voice of reason against a cull. In a letter to one of our supporters she wrote:
"I have opposed these proposals from the outset and I have not altered my position since I voted against the cull in 2009. As you will know, the Minister for Rural Affairs issued a written statement on 9th March introducing the Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2011, which will come into force on the 31st March and which will make legal the destruction of badgers within the west Wales Intensive Action Area (IAA). This is despite recent improvements in TB figures following the implementation of measures designed to reduce cattle-to-cattle transmission. As you point out in your letter, the evidence in support [of] the effectiveness of a cull is contentious and open to (mis)interpretation. It is my view that culling badgers at the same time as introducing a suite of cattle-side measures cannot help clarify ‘what works’. And I have put this argument to the Minister on numerous occasions. I have also expressed my serious concerns about the information disseminated by the Government in conjunction with the consultation, particularly the since retracted claim made in a leaflet that was sent to 26,000 homes that previous trials had shown culls could reduce TB in cattle by as much as 50% in six months. Despite this misinformation, figures show that of the 13,413 consultation responses received by the Welsh Assembly Government, only 2,110 were in favour of a cull. For these reasons I supported the actions of my colleagues Lorraine Barrett, Irene James, Peter Black and Jenny Randerson, who tabled a motion to annul the Badger Order 2011. Unfortunately, the motion was defeated in a Senedd vote on Wednesday 23rd March. I remain opposed to the cull, however, and I will continue to express my opposition both inside and outside of the National Assembly for Wales."

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