Letter: Badgers paying dearly for the political careers of some

Badgers are paying with their lives to keep a few Conservative MPs in their seats.  This is all to do with the strong lobbying power of the farmers’ organisations,  that see the culling of badgers as an advantage to themselves.

badger - stock

It has still not been proven that there is a link between bovine TB and badgers.  Why was it that five years ago DEFRA in England decided after taking scientific evidence, that a cull was not appropriate?

Why is it that the coalition has interpreted the scientific evidence so differently?    Badgers are wild animals and upsetting the natural balance by culling them will have unknown detrimental effects on the environment.

I understand that there are cattle on the Isle of Man with bovine TB, yet there is no badger population on the island.  It evidentially doesn’t need badgers to spread the disease.  Also, after an extensive cull of badgers in the Republic of Ireland, it was reported that the cull had no significant effect on the spread of bovine TB.

It is not possible to only cull diseased badgers, because there is no reliable test to identify them without doing an autopsy.  Therefore, this means that most of the badgers killed in any cull will be disease free, because the available evidence shows that the vast majority of badgers are free from bovine TB.

The RSPCA believes that “cattle-based measures such as testing and increased bio-security should and must underpin the fight against the spread of this disease, not a half-baked proposal which offers no welfare benefit to either farm animal or wildlife.”

While badgers are not an endangered species at the present time, they are a protected species and under the Wild Animals Protection Act 1996 and the new Animal Welfare Laws, they are entitled to protection from pain, suffering and persecution.

I hope that people that care about British wildlife will remember this when it is time to vote in the next General Election.

Lorraine Parker, Much Wenlock

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Comments for: "Letter: Badgers paying dearly for the political careers of some"

dianebartlett99

Absolutely right! Badgers have been demonised by this government and our local MP's haven't got a clue about the disease and just push the usual standard letter put out by Owen Paterson. I have tried to correspond with my MP Philip Dunne but he wrote to me saying we would have to agree to disagree and he wouldn't correspond with me any further on the badger Cull subject.....which basically means he doesn't know enough about the subject and can't be bothered to learn.

I feel that due to the lies being told this has bought about illegal killings all over the country, thugs don't need much encouragement and the dressed up green light from the government is just too much fir them to ignore.

The prevalence of TB in Badgers is not proven, there is no evidence, neither do they know how many Badgers are in the cull zone area, the numbers were taken from hair capture trial, which means that hair is captured in the area and test to see DNA of each badger thus giving the number of individual badgers but we have now found and this has been widely reported that the people doing this work fiddled the capture of hair from other areas so they could spend the night with their lass in a hotel for the evening.

Another way they are counting how many badgers is by counting setts and estimating how many badgers may be in a sett i.e. 15 Badger setts x 5 Badgers = 75 Badgers. This is a nonsense, for one it's very difficult to know how many badgers live in a sett plus there has been a lot of illegal gassing and baiting of badgers in the areas, also the flood unfortunately killed many badgers and their find source. We have found on inspection that most of the setts are dead, no badgers living in the setts.

Unlike England, Wales have approached this disease with tighter cattle control less movement of cattle and annual testing, plus vaccinating Badgers. This has achieved a 50% fall in TB in Wales in just 5 years, no badger cull needed and as their vet has stated the result are due to the controls as it's too early to point towards Badger vaccination.

I've been speaking with farmers in my area and the majority feel it's not Badgers and that for a sustainable benefit we have to address annual testing of cattle, tighter cattle controls and push the government to use the existing vaccine already available for cattle rather than holding off due to export problems with the EU.

One thing that has come to my attention is how many farmers are too nervous to share their feelings with other farmer due to bulling......unbelievable!

Healthy badgers will again be cruelly shot in Somerset and Gloucestershire again, this is imminent, many will be this years young just 8 months old and there's every reason to believe this will bring extinction in those areas due to Defra having no true knowledge of numbers.......having said that, I think that is their intentions anyway.

I will never vote for a conservative government again in the future!

Clued-Up

It's been clear to most of us the badger cull has NOTHING to do with cattle bTB control - though we haven't yet found out the REAL reasons why Cameron, DEFRA and the NFU want to kill badgers.

It puzzled me why the PM, ministers and the NFU leaders so consistently claimed there was a link between killing badgers and reducing cattle bTB when all the scientists not on DEFRA's payroll said there wasn't. Also why these people were so desperate to rubbish the achievements of Wales in cutting their cattle bTB levels by half in 4 years (without killing a single badger).

I think I've got the explanation now. The badger legislation apparently says culling badgers is only legal if it's to control bTB in domestic livestock. Deliberately killing badgers for any other reason means those who do it risk up to 6 months imprisonment for every badger harmed.

Cameron and co HAD to argue killing badgers was all about reducing cattle bTB, even though the evidence contradicts them, because otherwise a badger cull wasn't legally possible. I think they considered trying to lift the legal protection for Britain's wildlife (just as they thought about trying to remove the ban on fox and deer hunting) but realised they couldn't get their disgusting scheme through Parliament.

Mr Majestic

Oh dear what utter nonsense .However i fully understand the horror some may feel by a cull of Badgers .

Badgers are protected and rightly so numbers have increased to an acceptable level a link that they spread TB has been made a cull has been decided the best option, only time will tell us if it is .

Culling of badgers has not kept certain mps in there seats that is rubbish.

Dystopia Beckons

I applaud the letter-writer Lorraine, also dianebartlett99 and Clued-Up: the badger culls are entirely politically motivated and will do nothing to help the farmers to combat bovine TB.

There does seem to be a culture of bullying by NFU members & Countryside Alliance against farmers who do not want to follow the "badger blame game". The little guys are afraid to speak up for fear of being intimidated and ostracized. Since the NFU which is driving the culls only represents 18% of farmers in this country, maybe it's time for the 82% non-NFU members to organise themselves and set up their own union to represent their interests. However, with the price squeeze forced on them by the big supermarkets they're probably too busy just trying to keep their heads above water and their businesses afloat.

The shameful pilot culls are about to start up again any day in west Somerset and west Gloucestershire and many badgers will be sacrificed for absolutely no gain, turning the countryside into a hell on earth for the local people, with terrified badger screaming, gunshot fire, shouting, swearing, flashing lights, confrontations and possible public order problems.

The cost to the taxpayer of running these culls will be several million pounds, yet the UK is forecast to have a bigger underlying budget deficit than all of the PIGS nations that were bailed out in the eurozone crisis (Portugal, Ireland, Greece & Spain) put together. That so much public money is being wasted on this pointless slaughter policy is a national disgrace at a time when so many necessary public services are being cut back hard and homelessness is up by 25% since 2010.

This self-serving and arrogant public-schoolboy-dominated government has got its priorities terribly wrong.

Fortunately the culling will be halted next year when this sick and disgusting elitist government will be booted out of power. But sadly that will be too late to save so many innocent badgers.

If you want to help the badgers, please try to get down to the cull zones and help local protesters such as Somerset against Badger Shooting, Gloucestershire against Badger Shooting or Stop the Cull. Their details are on the internet, Facebook & Twitter. If you can't go, please consider donating to them or to one of the hunt saboteur groups who will be out saving badgers' lives in the killing fields over the next 6 weeks.

hedgehog

Same ole quotes and stories!

Cheshire road kill survey says 25/26% of badgers CONFIRMED with tb . So again the badger supporters are in denial and never admit the connection between the two as north Cheshire is not a high risk area . This letter is written and replied to by the same little group who see this as political not a disease issue , cattle farmers are doing all to eradicate this disease but meet idiotic nonsense over a proven carrier.

Dystopia Beckons

Hedgehog (one of that 'same little group'):

Where is your actual proof of a link between badgers and cattle TB?

How many of the Cheshire RTA badgers were not actually diseased but had antigens to TB because they had developed natural immunity? As with the BCG innoculations which proved unnecessary for many English schoolkids, including myself, who already had natural immunity to TB. Would you have euthanased us?

Welsh surveys confirm similar levels of bovine TB there, so why are cattle TB rates falling in Wales without killing any badgers?

Dystopia Beckons

I meant to say *Welsh badger surveys confirm similar levels of bovine TB in badgers there ...

@hedgehog

The new Cheshire figures you quote don't square at all with the TB figures for roadkill badgers collected over 20 years - only one badger of the 400 collected tested positive for TB.

The different methods of selecting the "samples" may explain why such a high percentage of badgers so mysteriously tested positive for TB in this new survey.

In the 20 year data, I think the 400 badgers were a proper "random sample" so the amount of TB found in this sample was a good measure of the amount of TB in the badger population as a whole. Those (road workers?) collecting the dead animals had no interest in trying to distort the results of the survey.

I think there is SCOPE for deliberately distorting the "samples" in the current survey (I can't know whether any attempts have actually been made). Interested parties (eg farmers) were allowed to bring in dead badgers for testing. Anyone wanting to distort the TB survey results could fairly easily do so by only bringing in for testing badgers which appeared to have been unhealthy or in bad condition before they died. People and animals who are already unhealthy and malnourished are much more likely to become infected with TB than those who are fit, well fed and not suffering from wounds / unrelated illnesses.

Just show how little you know then,

Liverpool Uni did research and at least 25% had lesions . Enough evidence for most people

Clued-Up

I explained in my post how any bias in sampling would bias the results, most people can understand the point. Remember the saying "Garbage in, garbage out"?

hedgehog

LOL,

Remember the one about denial, you repeat garbage and claim its the truth even when you are proven wrong at every statement you make ;) .

As stated on every reply to you nothing will ever change no matter what is proven and explained with true facts against your unfounded claims

Clued-Up

This message from Jeanne and Nick on behalf of the GABS Leads http://www.glosagainstbadgershooting.org/ gives info any "Shropshire Star" readers may need to help stop the killing of Gloucestershire and Somerset and bring about an end to the cull.

"Badger cull looks like it’s about to start .... We’re now having feedback from those out and about in the cull zone that they are seeing very clear signs of preparations for the cull starting in the next few days. Unsurprisingly, we’ve not had any official confirmation of this from DEFRA or the Police but we are now asking people to get ready for coming out to the cull zone as soon as we feel it appropriate. We’ll e mail everyone again once we’re asking people to be out in the area and update our website.

Whilst all this is depressing news we must remember that through everyone’s hard work in the various groups last year, we saved the lives of thousands of badgers in Gloucestershire. We also stopped the cull being rolled out to a further 10 areas as the government had originally intended so with concerted effort all round we can make a difference.

How you can help

See the full details on our website http://www.glosagainstbadgershooting.org/#/how-you-can-help/4580284625. There are various ways you can help our badgers as we know everyone has different skills and opportunities to help.

Wounded Badger Patrols

This year there will be two separate meeting places for the start of each patrol so we can cover more ground and help look for more badgers. If you join a patrol you will be able to stay for as long as you want with some people staying out all night.

The two meeting places are:

West zone Wounded Badger Patrols 7.00pm meeting every night

Meet in Newent at the Llewall Street Car Park GL18 1AN.

http://carparkmaps.co.uk/carparks/view/13044

It's opposite the library, behind the co-op and the car park with public loos (closed at night) and recycling where we met last year.

East zone Wounded Badger Patrols 7.00pm meeting every night

Meet outside the Longford Inn Layby Tewkesbury Road, Gloucester GL2 9BE.

http://www.bing.com/maps/#Y3A9NTIuNzcwMTU5fi0yLjM1Nzg3NSZsdmw9MTImc3R5PXImZW89MCZxPTUxLjg4MTExNyUwOS0yLjI0MDIxMg==

All patrollers must be 16 or older and dogs (even on leads) tend to be unpopular with farmers so are really better left at home.

Evening Sett monitors

Where we are aware of large setts where we think the badgers are vulnerable, we have people monitoring those setts for long periods of the night looking for wounded badgers. This involves a lot less walking and driving than the evening patrols but this is a vital role in helping to save our badgers. If you think you'd be able to spend some time focused around a particular sett that is vulnerable in anytime between dawn and dusk and haven't already told us that please contact badgersettsafe@gmail.com with dates and times you could help and we’ll get back to you.

Daytime walking of the footpaths

This year, GABS are not organising our own day surveying activities but others are and they welcome people to join them to look for badger activity and injured badgers during the day. They are now meeting each day with details below:

Daytime meeting point: Newent Co-op ( ex Budgens) car park meeting at11.00am each morning, postcode GL181PS.

Accommodation

Vanessa has very kindly agreed to coordinate offers and requests for accommodation by people coming from out of the area to help look for wounded badgers. We know that about 50% of our patrollers last year came from out of the area so if anyone lives locally and feels able to offer accommodation to patrollers please contact Vanessa via addictioneducation2010@gmail.com".

mr independent

Owen Paterson, when Minister, told Parliament that badger innoculation was too expensive at£670 per animal and that culling was the cheaper more effective option.When I asked for a comparison earlier this year in order to justify that stance, the response from DEFRA was the usual departmental sidestep. There are no financial figures on the true cost of badger culling.

Farmers that I talk to are very concerned about the accuracy of testing cattle which are indefinate in their conclusion, but an indefinate still means that cattle are destroyed 'just too be sure'.

There doesn'really seem to be enough evidence to suggest that bTB is as serious a problem as the government would like everyone to believe.

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