Sunday, 18 December 2011

When will they learn?


First, the good news - Defra figures show cattle TB is down 37 per cent in Dyfed without killing any badgers (bear in mind this is the county where the killing of badgers has been proposed by the Welsh Government). David Williams, chairman of the Badger Trust said: "Surely any decision to kill badgers cannot now be justified. This reduction in Dyfed is too big, too rapid and too sustained to be ignored [...] Furthermore, Wales as a whole saw a 28 per cent fall over the same periods, again too big to be brushed aside."

However, it is disappointing that bovine TB figures for England show a provisional 6 per cent increase in the number of new TB incidents for January to July, a result of less stringent testing and movement controls in England.

"It is high time to stop arguing about wasting time and money on trying to kill off badgers in the hope of a comparatively tiny benefit over a nine-year period," said Mr Williams. "We need universal annual testing of cattle, effective movement and registration controls and an end to farmers trying to evade them. Firm controls worked supremely well in the past, bringing the annual cattle toll to as low as 628 in 1979. The annual total remained at about 1,000 a year for 20 years - and the 11-year reactive badger culling programme during that time had no effect overall."

Sadly, Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, has decided to proceed with the two pilot culls 'to determine the efficacy and humaneness of the free-shooting of badgers'. Her statement was made after Prime Minister's Question Time on Wednesday 14th December 2011.

When will they learn?

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