Last week’s press release from DEFRA confirmed there will be NO widespread culling of badgers in England in an effort to halt Bovine TB, but a £20million investment in usable vaccines and cattle controls instead.
A great day for badgers – and for public pressure!
Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn acknowledged the decision made by Government not to introduce licenses to farmers to allow badger culling was informed by a wide range of scientific evidence and discussion with farming, veterinary and wildlife and conservation groups plus many others, and supported the verdict of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) and EFRA Select Committee Report. England has been waiting with bated breath for a decision about badgers since the Welsh Assembly Government’s announcement in April this year that culling would be allowed in Wales, in a ‘pilot’ TB hotspot.
And almost 650 people objected to a policy to cull badgers as part of the approach to help control the disease via the Woodland Trust alone, during DEFRA’s 2006 consultation. People were concerned that the effects on nature conservation a widespread cull would cause had not been properly considered, as well as animal welfare implications.
Look at what those letters have helped achieve!
The EFRA Committee’s full report however, released since the Government’s announcement on 22nd July, is not quite as positive. The Report recognises that in the long term the government is right to make spending on vaccines the priority, but EFRA thinks in the short term government do need to look at cattle testing, animal husbandry, farm bio-security measures – and culling. EFRA recommends including culling as a suite of measures to control bTB. This report is EFRAs opinion and doesn’t change the ‘no cull’ decision of a few weeks back but it could cause the Government to have a rethink of the decision and will certainly lead to a great deal of further discussion at the least.