Posts Tagged ‘Gloucestershire’

Government attempt to bury badger bad news over Christmas

December 18, 2014

Government attempt to bury badger bad news over Christmas

The Government today has released the results of the 2014 badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

800px-Deceased_Meles_meles_-_head[1]

In a clear attempt to bury bad news over Christmas, the report paints a picture of a disastrous policy which has clearly failed on scientific, economic and humaneness grounds.

Although 341 badgers were killed in Somerset which met the minimum target figure, the target has been criticised as “rubbish” and “unbelievably easy” by a leading expert. Only 274 were killed in Gloucestershire from a minimum target of 615.

Commenting on the publication of the report Dominic Dyer CEO of the Badger Trust and Policy Advisor at Care for the Wild said:

“Despite spending millions of pounds of tax payers money the DEFRA Chief Veterinary Officer admits for the first time today that the badger cull is failing.

Despite the many recommendations of the Independent Expert Panel from 2013, the standards of training and competence of the cull contractors continues to fall short, badger cull targets have not been met in Gloucestershire and many badgers have taken up to 5 minutes to suffer long painful deaths.

A recent MORI poll showed that badger culling was the fifth most common issue of complaint to MPs in the last 12 months.

This was backed up by a ComRes poll from the Badger Trust and Care for the Wild that shows 9 out of 10 people believe badger culling is cruel and should stop in favour of cattle based measures to reduce the spread of bovine TB.

It’s now time for the Government to admit it has got it wrong and bring an end to this disastrous cruel policy once and for all.

It should now follow the example of Wales and introduce annual TB testing for cattle combined with tighter bio security and cattle control movements, with compliance linked to CAP single payments for farmers. This policy has delivered a 48% drop in the number of cattle slaughtered for TB in Wales in the last 5 years without killing any badgers at all.

Courtesy of a recent Badger Trust press release.

A recent article in the Guardian newspaper by Steve Backshall is certainly worth a read as it calls for the cattle TB vaccination being tested in Ethiopia to be brought to the UK for field trials as soon as possible.

The fact that the European commission has put in place a 10-year timetable for its approved use in relation to meat and dairy exports to the EU has the potential to cause disquiet amongst those with strong opinions of UK membership of the EU?

Despite poor results Liz Truss is determined to keep culling!  Read the report Bovine TB: summary of badger control monitoring during 2014

At what point, one might ask should Ministers be accountable for failing to deliver as well as the exceptional costs in terms of funding the failure in times of austerity measures?

So, it seems that the comedy of errors is to be compounded with “carry on regardless” approach to “the greenest Government (n)ever” evidence based policies?

Greenblobpride

Advertisements

Beleagured Badgers in Somerset & Gloucestershire still, but no roll out elsewhere ….

April 4, 2014

At long last …. the Government, through Defra have published the Independent Expert Panel’s Report on the Pilot Badger Culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.  The Report  was presented to the Secretary of State Owen Paterson in March 2014.  It was apparently leaked ahead of the Parliamentary debate by the Backbench Business Committee through the Commons Select Committee on 13 March.  Pro-badger cull MPs boycott vote as Government loses 219 to 1, so will those who provaricated citing the need to read the findings now act to bring the debate back to Parliament and a free vote on whether or not more public money should be wasted on an inhumane and ineffective, unscientific cull?  Consider also the cost of the cull, per badger, and in times of cuts in public services – can we afford it when there are alternatives?

800px-Deceased_Meles_meles_-_head[1]

By Andrew Gray (local userpage) (p1140372) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The Panel were appointed in 2012 and despite the findings of the Panel it appears that Owen Paterson still intends to continue the two pilot culls, only this time they will not be monitored.  This from a Minister who is reported to seek evidence based science.  This despite the cost per animal, this despite the IEP findings that the cull was inhumane and ineffective.  Perhaps a glimmer of hope on the horizon is the announcement that there is some £24.6m to be invested over the course of this parliament in the development of effective TB vaccines for both cattle and badgers.

The NFU are reported to be ‘bitterley disappointed’.  Surely they can appreciate the predicament that they are placing farmers who have ‘closed herds’ in, as well as those who practice good biosecurity?   Perhaps it is the role of such Unions generally to represent the masses rather than promote effective best practice?  This continued persecution of a much loved icon of the British countryside will not help the public perception of farmers who prefer to work with rather than persecute nature.  The agricultural welfare scheme (aka CAP) is not just there to subsidise monoculture across the countryside but to fund good environmental practice, and surely it is not beyond the wit of man as a scientist to develop and achieve an effective compromise?

What is perhaps aseonishing is the fact that the Minister does not deem it appropriate or necessary that there is a need for monitoring of the culls.  Prof Rosie Woodroffe of the  Institute of Zoology commented on that aspect: “I’m disappointed that this year’s culls will lack the independent oversight needed to provide confidence”.  A case could be made that this is a Goverment lacking in evidence based policy from a Minister and Department where such scince ought to be at the forefront of decisions? 

Another potential negative spin off consequential of the continuing cull  in Somerset and Gloucestershire, might be a drop in tourism – might the public think twice about visiting an area where its farmers do not value its wildlife?  Somerset Brie is delicious, it is a quality product that deserves our support, but for me at the moment at any rate there is a principle based on sound science and at the moment the Minister appears rather muddled?

bTB can be devastating, no one doubts that and there is understanding and sympathy for farmers who have lost herds to the disease. Generations of breeding over years whiped out in an instant.

Together, a collaborative coalition can achieve compromise, but continued culling is only likely to cause more problems than it resolves?

 

 


BIRDING SITE GUIDE - Birding Site Guide

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Hatfield Moors Birding Blog

Bird and other wildlife information service for Hatfield Moors, South Yorkshire, UK © HMBSG 17/11/2010

Mark Avery

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

UK and Ireland Natural History Bloggers

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?