Make MPs certain of your support for our badgers
ALMOST a third of a million people have signed an online petition against the badger cull. Although it is now too late to add your name to astrophysicist and rock guitarist Dr Brian May's Stop the Cull e-petition – it closed on Saturday – we are urging you to contact your local MP and MEP to register your feelings on the subject.
Two pilot culls – intended to test the safety, efficacy and humaneness of killing badgers by free shooting or cage trapping and shooting – have been taking place in west Somerset and west Gloucestershire.
If deemed successful, these could be rolled out throughout the West Country and Midlands.
Up to ten licences would be issued each year for four years, possibly resulting in the killing of as many as 130,000 badgers.
Recently, the badger-cull e-petition broke the record for the largest number of signatories –it had more than 303,000 – to a Government e-petition.
And a statement from Team Badger, based on the e-petition, was issued to the media. The statement had the backing of academics, veterinary professionals and celebrities including Sir Roger Moore, Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Brian Blessed and Anthony Head.
The Wildlife Trusts were on the list of signatories. Naturalist and broadcaster Simon King, president of The Wildlife Trusts and Avon Wildlife Trust, also signed in a personal capacity.
The statement read: "We the undersigned ask the Government to stop the badger cull and to implement instead the more sustainable and humane solution of vaccination, improved testing and better bio-security."
Simon has commented that after ten years of study, the leading scientific brains said the cull of badgers would do nothing to improve the condition of cows and, more importantly, the status of bovine tuberculosis in the British Isles. He described the cull as a "travesty" and urged people not to let it happen, and to add their support for banning the cull.
We all want to see an end to bovine tuberculosis in the British Isles. Killing badgers is not the way forward. All the science points to the cull being a waste of time, a waste of money and a waste of life.
The Wildlife Trusts care about badgers and cattle and do not believe a cull is the answer to bovine TB. Science shows that a badger cull will be of little help in reducing this disease in cattle, yet at least 70 per cent of the badger population – the majority of which are healthy – will be wiped out in the pilot areas, a virtual elimination of this iconic British species. This cannot be allowed to happen.
Dr Lucy Rogers is Avon Wildlife Trust's director of conservation programmes.
Avon Wildlife Trust is the local wildlife charity, dedicated to securing a strong future for nature and to inspiring people. See avonwildlifetrust.org.uk for information about the trust, its nature reserves, walks and educational work, Feed Bristol, and ways to support the charity, including membership.