Once again in the fight against Bovine Tuberculosis (BTB), the badgers are to be the victims of a cull which is scheduled to begin in two trial areas next year.
Of course BTB is a serious issue and no-one wishes to see cattle needlessly slaughtered. However, there is no existing research which supports the methods of culling the government is now proposing to licence.
On the contrary, there is plenty that suggests culling could make things worse. Defra believes that, at best, a badger cull would result in a 12-16 per cent reduction of BTB and that is only after four years of brutal culling, involving the slaughter of countless healthy badgers.
A real alternative to culling is vaccinations. A vaccination trial carried out under the previous government gave results showing a significant drop in outbreaks of badger TB.
There is evidence to suggest tighter controls on cattle movements and more frequent cattle testing could be of benefit, and electric fences and solid gates to deter badgers from cattle feeding areas could also help.
The majority of the public do not want the cull but prefer an alternative. The previous government chose not to cull following independent scientific advice and a consultation showing overwhelming opposition from respondents. Both scientific and humane considerations show that a cull would be wrong.
I urge any of your readers who are concerned about the fate of badgers to write to their local MP and councillors to protest against the cull.