RSPCA outraged after badger cull announced for summer 2013

An reserve cull area in Dorset being ‘prepared’

The RSPCA is outraged that the Government has ignored public, parliamentary, EU Commission and scientific opinion and announced that it will be going ahead with plans for a badger cull this summer.

Plans for these pilot culls had been due to go ahead last autumn but were postponed but today (Wednesday 27 February) Defra issued a statement saying that the final licences had been granted and that the culls would go ahead from June. They also said they were ‘preparing’ a third pilot cull area in Dorset.

RSPCA Chief Executive Gavin Grant said: “Despite overwhelming scientific, public and parliamentary opposition the Government seems hell bent on pressing forward with their senseless plans to kill badgers.

“All the evidence shows that the answer to the problems of bovine TB in cattle does not lie in a cull that will be an ineffective, wasteful and potentially damaging to the welfare of both farm and wild animals.

“We care about cattle and badgers alike and have great sympathy for the farmers dealing with the effects of this disease – but killing badgers is not the answer.”

Just yesterday, the EU commission gave evidence to the government and said that the only way to get rid of the disease in cattle was to improve cattle movement restrictions, and that the UK was the one of the few countries in the EU that allowed so much cattle movement.

Vaccinations of both badgers and cattle along with more effective biosecurity is the way forward to secure the welfare of both cattle and badgers and the long term livelihood of farmers.

The RSPCA stands ready to work alongside all those seeking to develop and implement a badger vaccination and biosecurity campaign as the alternative to this barbaric cull.

Below is the reaction to the Badger cull from Team Badger:

“The Government’s plan to go ahead with the pilot badger cull this summer in west Gloucestershire, west Somerset or part of Dorset flies in the face of scientific fact as well as public and parliamentary opinion.

Culling badgers is not the answer to eradicating bovine TB. Not only is the practice inhumane and impractical, it is also ineffective in tackling the disease, as has been made repeatedly clear by leading scientific experts and studies.

Team Badger, a growing coalition of like minded animal welfare organisations, showed in our recent submission to the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee of the House of Commons that vaccination of badgers provides a viable, practical approach to disease control made even more effective ny increased on-farm, bio security measures.

Team Badger is committed to continuing to work with others both to promote vaccination and to act within the law to stop the cull going from ahead."