RSPCA relief at U-turn on badger cull

The RSPCA is relieved DEFRA has decided against rolling out the badger cull to further counties after they backed down on plans to licence more culls in other parts of the British countryside.

Following pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire the RSPCA feared large areas of land in Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, East Sussex, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Cheshire, Wiltshire and Herefordshire would be included in future culling operations.

Reports that the Independent Expert Panel found the culls to be ineffective and inhumane add pressure to the Government to drop the cull after pilots failed to meet the 70% 'targets' set by DEFRA deemed to be necessary to have any chance of reducing bovine TB in cattle.

Results reported in the national media that more than five per cent of badgers took longer than five minutes to die meant the pilots failed the humaneness test as well.

The badger cull was not just inhumane but would also be an ineffective way of controlling the spread of bovine TB and the RSPCA is again calling for the Government to drop any plans to continue it in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said: “We are delighted DEFRA have started to listen to the strong feelings of the public, their MPs and the scientific evidence that the culls were ineffective and inhumane. But there is so much more that still needs to be done.

“The Secretary of State Owen Paterson must now listen to the voice of Parliament and the public and discard the culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

“More than 1,800 badgers were culled last year as part of the Government's misguided policy in these two counties and to continue with them would be both irrational and pointless.

"The RSPCA, alongside many other organisations, has always maintained the methods used in the cull would not be humane and that culling is not the answer to effectively controlling bovine TB.

"We firmly believe that the use of vaccination along with improved biosecurity will lead to a decrease in new cases of bovine TB, and both farmers and wildlife campaigners can move forward in tackling this disease together.”



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