RSPCA renews calls for badger cull to be scrapped

As MPs debate the controversial badger cull at Westminster today (Wednesday) the RSPCA has renewed calls for the scheme to be scrapped.

The recent announcement of the continuation of badger culls in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset, along with an additional seven areas across the south west, means that up to 14,231 badgers could be killed as a result and has reignited the debate over bovine TB and how it should be managed.

Head of wildlife at the RSPCA Adam Grogan said: “We all agree that bovine TB is a devastating disease that causes animals to suffer and farmers to go through the grief of having their cattle destroyed and being placed under movement restrictions.

“Here at the RSPCA, we want to see what’s best for badgers, cattle and the farmers whose livelihoods are devastated by this disease.

“Scientific evidence shows that badgers prefer to avoid cattle wherever possible and indicates that the role badgers play in the persistence and spread of bovine TB does not deserve the attention it receives.

“Many eminent scientists continue to question the cull, calling it a costly distraction from the main issue of bovine TB – and we think they are absolutely right.

“Bovine TB is a complex disease but badgers are just a symptom of this disease, not the cause. Targeting badgers is a costly distraction; costly to both animal welfare and farmers’ livelihoods.

“This is why the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations have been so consistent on calling for the culls to be scrapped.

“The Government needs to explore the alternatives  – including stricter controls on the movement of cattle, increased levels of cattle testing over a wider area, improved biosecurity, and vaccination of both badgers and cattle.  Dogmatic killing of badgers is not helping anyone.”

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