The Wildlife Trusts’ President Emeritus, Simon King OBE, launched a new e-petition on the Government website calling for an end to the badger cull and no expansion of the cull to new areas. This morning the Government announced that seven new licences for badger culling have been granted, covering parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset. These areas are in addition to the existing cull areas in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset which are part of a four-year trial cull, as yet incomplete.
Simon King OBE, the new e-petition proposer (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/165672), says: “Any extension of badger culling into new areas should be prevented. The scientific evidence demonstrates that culling is likely to be ineffective in fighting the disease and risks making the problem even worse. The impact of bovine TB is painful, disruptive and distressing to the lives and businesses of farmers - but culling is not the solution and gives farmers false hope.”
The Wildlife Trusts oppose the decision by Natural England to grant new licences for culling badgers and call on the Government and the newly appointed Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom, to overrule and reverse this decision immediately.
Sir David Attenborough, also a President Emeritus of The Wildlife Trusts, says: “An expansion of the badger cull to new areas, against the recommendations of scientists and before the completion of a four year trial cull, is surely a bad idea.”
The Wildlife Trusts call on the Government to take immediate action to:
- Reduce cattle-to-cattle transmission of bovine TB - the major cause of infection - by tightening movement controls on cattle even further
- Accelerate research into cattle vaccination
- Improve testing regimes for cattle
- Invest in more research into better techniques for early detection of TB in cattle
- Ensure higher standards of biosecurity on farms and link this to cross-compliance for subsidy payments
- Secure alternative sources of badger vaccine and speed up the approval process so that suspended vaccination programmes can resume as soon as possible