Posted 13th September by Peter Byrne
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has expressed its shock at hearing the areas where badger culling will occur are to be substantially increased this year
DWT has expressed its concern at the Government continuing to go against scientific advice which states badger culling is unlikely to have a meaningful effect in reducing bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.
Continuing and extending the cull has led to the Trust offering their fears that the majority of rural Dorset will now be covered, which could lead to thousands of badgers being killed in the county. Not only is this unlikely to reduce the incidence of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), but it's feared it could make matters worse by disturbing the badger populations, causing a further possible spread of the disease to cattle. In total, 4,258 badgers have been killed in the Dorset culls since they started in 2015, and up to 9,391 could be killed this year alone.
DWT, which has its own herd of cattle in west Dorset, believes alternative methods such as badger vaccinating in the short-term, the implementing of effective bio-security on farms, and in the long-term, vaccinating cattle, all of which offer alternatives to the cull. No culling will be allowed on DWT nature reserves."
"DWT is concerned by the National Farmers' Union (NFU) ignoring public opinion and democracy as well as well-established science to roll out what would be an even bigger badger cull that would see widespread badgers killed.
DWT's Chief Executive, Dr Simon Cripps, commented: "The killing of thousands of badgers, one of our iconic species, is being extended further across the country, in an underhanded manner, without the publication of boundaries."
"If the NFU won’t listen to scientific reason then they should at least come clean about what they are doing in our countryside, against the wishes of the vast majority of both urban and rural communities. Minister Gove has stated that future farm payments will need to provide benefits for the environment and communities. This needs to start with the withdrawal of badger culling and support for farmers to take a range of more effective actions such as vaccination and farm security. We call on the Government to establish a full and independent inquiry into whether the culls have achieved their intended outcome in reducing bTB in cattle."
In 2013, DWT started a badger vaccination programme on its nature reserves which are close to its livestock. However, the vaccine supply was sadly cut in 2016, but now, it is expected the programme to start up in 2018. You can find out more here.
Image courtesy of Pixabay