Letter: Badger cull would be futile

I agree with previous correspondents about the futility of the badger cull.

I agree with previous correspondents about the futility of the badger cull.

Environment Minister Caroline Spelman has ignored the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TBs assertion that badger culling could not ‘meaningfully contribute’ to the control of the disease – a conclusion reached after a near-decade-long scientific study that involved the killing of 11,000 badgers.

This is because culling displaces badgers, spreading infection over a wider area.

Mrs Spelman has approved a six-week slaughter programme that will take place in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset this year.

The Welsh Assembly has also announced plans to cull badgers in Pembrokeshire.

The badgers will be trapped in cages overnight and then transferred to execution cages where they will be shot in the head.

Farmers, quite rightly, are worried about the public perception of a cull of one of Britain’s most loved wild animals.

If you are worried too, support the growing lobby against the cull by joining an anti-cull organisation and don’t drink milk if the cull goes ahead.

J McDermott


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Comments for: "Letter: Badger cull would be futile"


I welcome a badger cull. Badgers have become over populated since they became a protected species. All that is happening is a temporary trial cull to thin out an over populated population of pests that carry a deadly disease known as TB. The trials are only happening in areas where TB is rife. Where farms affected by suspected cases are not allowed to send their produce into the food chain meaning they can not earn a living. We;re not talking about a week ban here; we're talking a minimum of six months and some farms even waiting years to be cleared of restrictions. Remember, nowhere does it say every badger will get culled.

It has cost the British tax payer £500 million pounds over the last 10 years to compensate farmers against TB. This does not include the money they pay to vets to carry out routine checks or scientists that examine samples.

Did you know that perfectly healthy cattle with suspected cases of TB get sent to slaughter and incinerated before tests results are returned. Most cases show that the dead animal did not in-fact carry the disease. This costs you and me money, let alone hardship to the farmers concerned who have spent years, even generations breading their stock! You really have no idea how the countryside works, so why should you dictate to others what they can and can not do!

This can not continue and I am glad that the British govt are doing something about it.

If you are worried about the minority of people that just speak nonsense, then I encourage you to join me by drinking double the amount of milk as you already do and to support British agriculture.

Milk Drinker

I'm giving up drinking milk - and fast. These farmers have got it all wrong. It's cruel and unnecessary.


LOL! I gave up milk years ago. If you knew how much pus from mastitis was in it you wouldn't drink it either. Ugh!

Love the idea of giving it up for badgers though :-)

Realistic Country Boy

Another mis-representation of those lovely cuddly badgers that appear in cartoon form in film fantasies and books.

They are not cuddly and what use do they provide for us, the human race.

Unlike cows who provide one of the most popular products the world over.



Johnny Rogers

Realistic country boy, that's right just like people like you saying its ok to extinct an animal, i would like generations off my family to be able to see the Animals that so many off you yokels say are vermin and must be killed.

We only get cow milk from cows that have given birth to calves and we steal the calves milk while the calves are given formula.

You farmers need to start investing in quality feed and not feeding your cattle on crap and maybe we will see health benefits to all the animals.


But tripe does come from a cow & is popular, right ?

Or did you reply to the wrong post ?

Dave Scot

I entirely agree with the letter. Badgers should not be scapegoated. A vaccination is ready and it should be used. This govt needs to stop pandering to farmers. A badger cull is not necessary. It didn't work before and it won't work now.


as a consumer of milk and beef, the less vaccinations given to livestock the better. I value my immune system more than a countryside pest


Sam, I think you may be misunderstanding how vaccines work. If you're going to worry about what's given to livestock then worry about antibiotics (and their effect on encouraging "super bugs"), not vaccines. I also eat meat and drink milk, but the vaccine does not worry me. Antibiotic resistant bacteria do.

Dave Scot

Sam, the vaccination would be given to the badgers! We know there are too many chemicals in the cows already.


I'm with you 100 % Dave.


It's not the badgers' fault. Farmers need to look at how they treat their animals first. As it is now thought that hunting spreads the disease, we should ban that first. Then we should stop the movement of animals. Next, the vaccination.

Let's look at the alternatives first before a cull.


A Badger cull is the wrong way to go.Previous culls have shown that killing Badgers has no significant effect on reducing bTB in cattle.Defra admits that a reduction of 16% is the best that can be acheived by culling.

It is proposed that only 70% of Badgers are to be killed in the culling areas but as there is no way of knowing how many Badgers are in an area how will farmers know when they have killed 70%?.This could mean that whole populations of badgers could be wiped out.Vaccination is the way forward.

Wendé Anne Maunder

Defra's own statistics estimate that killing 70% of badgers will result in a 12 - 16% fewer farm cattle with Bovine TB. Does that make ANY sense to ANYBODY? the figures just don't add up do they?

The way dairy cattle are treated is too hideous to put into words... and we think we have the right to treat animals like this because we're humans; the 'superior' species... So, the fact that we now think we have the right to kill another species because they are threatening our domination over a species we already think we own is too much.

Katherine de Gama

Interstingly, I have an acre of land in an area where farmers are likely to ask for licence to cull but can'r join together with neighbours to oppose as locations for the trial are so far being kept secret for security reasons.

It interesting too that culling won't begin until the end of the Olympics. I suspect thism has something to do with bad publicity and inevitable strains on policing.


Yes, I read this in the socialist worker the other day. What livestock do you and your neighbours keep? Interesting argument not.


I think Katherine asks the investigative question Pete. Conscience and intention behind an issue of any government.


Culling is a difficult issue to address , the real issue is one of effectiveness.

Any argument of cruelty is of fallacious left wing nonsense. Eradicating Bovine TB from the British herd is a necessity for all concerned in farming. Any method of culling is appropriate to this end.

The concern is identifying the infectious setts ,badgers by their nature are territorial by removing a healthy TB free sett might inadvertently introduce a diseased sett , an obvious dilemma. Where TB is of an epidemic issue however culling is now the only option left, which is why these trials are being tested.


I hear what you are saying Pete. Do you really think it is fallacious left wing nonsense or militant secularism?


Difficult decision. One has to consider that the badger is a truly indigenous British animal and was here long before man and mass cattle farming. It is estimated that we already kill 50,000+ adult animals a year in road collisons with vehicles. A cull would seem to be a very regressive approach to a creature that we are empowered to protect.

The Original Andy

Agree with you there Gary. Sam (the one that loves his milk and meat) fails to realise that humans to, overpopulate not only this country, but the whole planet.


Those interested in the badgers welfare are not misguided by the notion of them being cute and cuddly. They are wild animals and entitled to their place on this earth. I agree whole heartedly with Gary's comments


When people like Sam give vent to their ludicrous conclusions it's obvious why badgers need the protection of the law. He complains that clean cattle are being unecessarily killed (he's basically wrong on that, but never mind) and then by some tortured logic says a faulty skin test justifies killing badgers--most of them disease free--to control a respiratory disease that originates in cattle and is chiefly spread by cattle, aided by poor management control systems, ineffective testing, an absence of biosecurity (disease prevention measures) on most farms, and an industry which frequently breaks regulations put in place to stop cattle-to-cattle transmission. Wakey, wakey. Let's have a bit of honesty. Even the most rabid pro-cull proponents accept that slaughtering tens of thousands of badgers will at best reduce bTB by only 12-16 per cent over nine years. So come on, Sam, and the rest of you anti wildlife people, what are you going to do about the 84 per cent of the problem left untouched by your vindictive, unscientific campaign?

Another Realistic Country Boy

A lot of good comments on here. If the evidence said that a badger cull would seriously reduce bovine TB then I would support it, but it doesn't. If you take all of the sentimentality anyone has about badgers out of the equation and simply look at the science and research, the pro-cull argument still doesn't stand up. It's a matter of the government creating policy to pander to the immediate demands of understandably frustrated and concerned farmers, without considering a long-term, sustainable and effective plan.


There is medication that can be put in animals feed to prevent them getting TB but farmers are too mean to pay for it.

Shropshire Lad

There is a specialist team, called Brock Vaccination, with a base in Shropshire who offer a service of badger vaccination to farmers and other landowners. They offer a proactive step that can be taken now to help reduce transmission risk from badgers to cattle. They have a good website with lots of information on badger vaccination.