With another round of badger-slaughter starting through most of Dorset and into South Somerset, badger protection campaigners have issued a challenge to theDorsetbranch of the National Farmers Union.
Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare member Andy Hamilton explained “The outgoing Chairman of Dorset NFU, Trevor Cligg is a leading supporter of the culls. His successor James Cossins has yet to state his position. We would like one or both of them to produce evidence that four years of killing badgers inWest Somerset and Gloucestershire has produced any reduction in cattle TB. The government admits there is no measurable effect. So why does Dorset NFU think it’s a good idea to kill thousands more badgers here when the culls haven’t worked elsewhere?”
Lord John Krebs, Professor of Zoology atOxfordUniversity added his response to the chorus of disapproval at the news of new cull licences. “The Government’s own analysis of the 4-year pilot culls show there has been no reduction of TB in cattle,” he said. “At the same time, the Welsh policy of no culling but stronger bio-security is working, the Irish Government has decided to stop culling as it is not sustainable, yet the English Government persists with its pointless and misguided policy.”
Animal welfare groups have also criticised the cruelty of free shooting of badgers. Badgers shot but not killed outright can escape and suffer a slow, agonising death while un-weaned badger cubs will starve to death if their mothers are killed. Andy Hamilton said “We want Dorset NFU to answer this simple question:- Why do they believe free-shooting is humane when the British Veterinary Associat ion and the Government’s own Independent Experts Panel say it is not?”