A risky, costly and inhumane tool in the fight against Bovine TB
We have consistently refuted claims that the culling of badgers in Shropshire would reduce the incidence of Bovine Tuberculosis in cattle and that the practice should be extended to our area.
There is overwhelming evidence from many researchers and relevant bodies that the practice is not effective in achieving its primary aim. It is in fact a risky, costly and inhumane tool in the fight against Bovine TB and in conflict with the evidence.
For instance, a study by researchers at Queen Mary College, London, involving 1.5million cows, evaluated several methods of controlling Bovine TB. Their results showed that regular testing of cattle was 20 times more effective at halting the spread of the infection than culling badgers.
Further evidence comes from Scotland and Wales, where testing of cattle has become more frequent in recent years, the incidence of TB in cattle has declined.
In the UK, where testing has not moved to less than once in four years, the incidence continues to grow.
More recent evidence about the effectiveness of culling is highly contradictory and inconclusive. We believe this is sufficient cause to halt the culling programme and requires a total re-assessment of the policy. We also call for efforts to improve the vaccination of badgers and the building up of resistance to TB in badgers, for instance, through improved welfare and biosecurity measures for cattle.
We ask that the involved ministers take on board the real evidence produced by independent scientific research and re-examine the decision to implement and then extend badger culling. We are highly concerned that the badger cull is an expensive misuse of taxpayers’ monies for short-term political gain, secured by the pointless sacrifice of badgers, a highly intelligent, social animal, and by ignoring the multiple costs of intensive farming practices.
The Green Party wants to see fact-based policies that actually tackle the incidence and cause of Bovine Tuberculosis. Evidence based decision-making by our Agricultural ministers and this Government would truly benefit the farming community, consumers, animal welfare, and the health of ecosystems on which we all depend.
Hilary Wendt, Coordinator, South Shropshire Green Party