Plan for badger cull is slammed as ‘sickening’

A WILDLIFE rescuer has described the government’s decision to allow badgers to be culled as ‘sickening’.

The RSPCA is also devastated that, following years of contentious debate, the government has told Sussex farmer they can hire marksmen to shoot the animals.

The government hopes to try and stop the spread of cattle catching the disease bovine tuberculosis (TB) but the plans means the badger population in Sussex could be reduced by 70 per cent.

Trevor Weeks, from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service, said culling the creatures will not solve the TB problem.

“All mammals can carry TB – foxes, rabbits, dear and even humans – it is a fact of life,” said Mr Weeks.

“Culling badgers is pointless and the farming community should take issues like TB in to consideration and prepare for them. No other industry gets subsidised to the extent that farming does.”

The RSPCA has long been firmly opposed to proposals for a widespread cull and has battled against various plans put forward, and previously dismissed, by different governments.

It thinks vaccination of badgers, increased levels of testing, improved biosecurity and stricter controls on the movement of cattle are more effective ways of dealing with the problem in the long-term.

David Bowles from the RSPCA said, “It is a black day for badgers - a day we have been dreading.

“At a time when the Welsh government has stepped back from a cull, the government in England is slowly shredding its own animal welfare credentials.”

Martin Hole, the farmer from Montague Farm in Hankham, said, “It has been a black day for farmers for the last 10 years and the RSPCA should remember what a miserable death the badger itself suffers as a result of TB. It is of course a very, very difficult decision but life has hard decisions and if science supports it, we need to knuckle down and take those deeply unpleasant decision.”

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said, “I’m disappointed that Caroline Spelman has chosen to progress with the badger cull. While I appreciate there are legitimate arguments on both sides, there is still strong evidence that a badger cull may not succeed. While any reasonable doubt remains, I cannot countenance the potential culling of badgers and I have written to Caroline Spelman to inform her of my opposition.”