Science Advisor says Badger Cull Plan is a ‘Crazy Scheme’

The Scientist whose Research is being cited by the UK Government to Justify its Plan to Cull (KILL) Badgers in England has described the scheme as “Crazy”.

Lord Krebs spoke to BBC News after the government’s environment advisory body Natural England has issued a culling licence to a consortium of landowners in Gloucestershire.

The cull is intended to control the spread of TB in cattle.

The scientist whose research is being cited by the government to justify its plan to cull badgers in England has described the scheme as “crazy”.

Lord Krebs spoke to BBC News after the government’s environment advisory body Natural England has issued a culling licence to a consortium of landowners in Gloucestershire.

The cull is intended to control the spread of TB in cattle.

Some badgers can carry TB and pass it on to cattle

Some badgers can carry TB and pass it on to cattle

 

Both groups will then have to show that they can pay for the culling and shoot them in sufficient numbers before full licences are granted. BBC News has been told that these could be issued in three weeks and intensive culling could begin immediately.

The culls will be monitored by an independent group for a period of six weeks. If the body is satisfied that the culls are effective and humane it will advise ministers to continue the trials for four years.

This would pave the way for further applications. Natural England will issue a maximum of 10 licences each year – with future culls.

The culls are intended to reduce TB in cattle by some 16% over nine years in the immediate area. Across England though the effect is much smaller, around 5%.

The aim of the pilot schemes is to assess the effectiveness of the government’s plan to slow down the spread of TB in cattle in England. The Welsh government has opted for a system of vaccination while Scotland is officially TB-free.

Lord Krebs is a respected science adviser to government

Lord Krebs is a respected science adviser to government

Lord Krebs is a Respected Science Adviser to the UK Government

The plan is based on the results of a nine-year trial which showed that the spread of the disease could be slowed slightly if more than 70% of badgers in an area could be eradicated. If it was less than 70% – the spread of TB to cattle might even increase.

But the scientist who carried out the study has told BBC News that these pilot studies make no sense.

Lord Krebs, who is one of the government’s most respected scientific advisers, said that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which is administering the scheme, has no way of knowing how many badgers there are in the area, so will not know when they’ve killed 70% of the badgers in the area.

“I would go down the vaccination and biosecurity route rather than this crazy scheme that may deliver very small advantage, may deliver none. And it’s very hard to see how Defra are going to collect the crucial data to assess whether it’s worth going ahead with free shooting at all,” he said.

Defra has said that it would be using data from previous studies and would commission its own research to estimate badger numbers.

According to Prof Sir Robert Watson, a former science adviser to Defra, which is overseeing the process, culling alone will not solve the problem.

Former science advisor Prof Robert Watson- 'Badger culling alone not a solution'

Former science advisor Prof Robert Watson- ‘Badger culling alone not a solution’

Former science advisor Prof Robert Watson: ‘Badger culling alone not a solution’

“Culling won’t solve the problem nationally (across England),” he told BBC News in a recent interview.

“But farmers in Devon, Cornwall and Gloucestershire are arguing that it can get between a 16% and 20% reduction which they think is significant and that they are willing to pay for.”

The culls are paid for by local groups of farmers and carried out by private contractors. Prof Watson said that he himself questioned whether the cost of the culls would be economically worthwhile.

“I would say the economics is very close as to whether it is worth it. But the government has made a decision that (it should be tried if farmers are willing to fund it),” he said.

“The question (then) is: ‘Is it a significant effect? Is it cost effective? Is it socially and ethically appropriate?”

The Pilot Areas

  • West Gloucestershire pilot area description: mainly in the county of Gloucestershire, predominantly within the council districts of the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury, and parts lie within the districts of Wychavon, Malvern Hills and the south east part of the county of Herefordshire. The area does not include the public forest estate in the Forest of Dean.

  • West Somerset pilot area description: located in the county of Somerset. The application area predominantly lies within the council district of West Somerset and part lies within the district of Taunton Deane.

  • Source: Natural England

Animal welfare and wildlife campaigners have opposed the cull, which will allow wild badgers to be shot when they come out at night, but lost their fight in the High Court last week.

Defra says the action is necessary to protect cattle from bovine TB, which leads to the slaughter of thousands of cattle each year.

Defra Minister David Heath said: “Our priority has always been to ensure that any culling of badgers is carried out in a safe, humane and effective way.

“The licence for Gloucestershire issued by Natural England today meets all the strict criteria we imposed, and the pilot in this area will help us assess the effectiveness of controlled shooting before we look at a wider roll out to control the spread of bovine TB in cattle.

“No one wants to kill badgers but the science is clear that we will not get on top of this disease without tackling it in both wildlife and cattle.”

Plans to begin culling in Wales were recently abandoned in favour of a vaccination policy. There are no proposals to cull badgers in Scotland, where TB incidence is low.

Source: BBC

Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

Protection 4 Animals supports the total banning of the Fur Trade. Currently while officially Dog and Cat Fur is banned in many countries, this does not apply to the Raccoon Dogs being Skinned Alive for their Fur.

Make no mistake this is a Barbaric process carried out by Brutal Chinese workers, that Beat the Dogs with Iron Bars, Kick Stomp, Slam them against concrete walls/floors to stop them struggling.

Then the Fur is Slowly Torn from their bodies in the most agonising and sickening way. They are then thrown to one side where they suffer the most horrendous deaths, that can last up to 3 hours.

Please Sign Our Petition To Stop Raccoon Dogs Being Skinned Alive and Suffering a Slow, Sickening, Horrendous Deaths. Click Here To Sign Our Petition These poor animals need your support, tell all your friends and family, thank you.

You can Email Protection 4 Animals by Clicking Here.

Related Articles

Brian May: Me and My Animal Passions

He is one the World’s Best Guitarists He’s written some of the most memorable rock anthems of all time, and his band ‘Queen’ is a Global Phenomenon. But it’s not music he wants to be remembered for his Animal Welfare … Continue reading → 

Badger Torn to Shreds by Dogs as Men Cheered

The High Court in Belfast has heard a Badger was Torn to Shreds by Dogs as a Group of So Called ‘Men’ Cheered on the Pit Bulls. The claim was made by a Prosecution Lawyer during a hearing for two… Continue reading →

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Sir David Attenborough in Anti-Badger Cull

Sir David Attenborough in Anti-Badger Cull Christmas Number One Bid

Sir David Attenborough has been enlisted by the producers of a charity single in the battle for the Christmas number one.

The wildlife documentary maker appears in the video for the song, The Present of Life, which is being launched by BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham and is part of a campaign against plans for a Badger Cull.

The video features Packham on drums and weather forecaster Michael Fish on guitar. Rob da Bank, the Radio 1 DJ, also appear in the clip. The song is produced by eco-friendly clothing firm Rapanui.

attenborough-3_2415977c

David Attenborough

The single is being sold on iTunes from December 7 to raise money for the Badger Trust, which campaigns against badger culling.

Packham said: “The battle for the coveted Christmas number one spot is always tough but one we are ready for. It will be difficult going up against the X-Factor but we’ll give it a good shot. It would be an amazing achievement.”

Rob Drake-Knight, from eco-friendly clothing firm Rapanui, said: “It was a great coup getting the likes of Chris and David on side. Hopefully they can help us to hit the number one spot and stop the badger cull at the same time.”

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David, 86, has previously spoken out against a badger cull, saying it could make the problem of cattle disease worse.

The purpose of the planned cull would be to control bovine tuberculosis. Farmers claim badgers spread the cattle disease and want permission to kill the protected woodland species.

But in an interview last year, Sir David said: “You may think culling [badgers] is the answer and it sounds easy to start with but it can very well make things much worse.

“At the moment TB is localised. If you kill all those badgers what happens then? Firstly those survivors will go out and carry the disease to areas that were hitherto unaffected.

“Other badgers slowly colonise and are infected themselves. There is good scientific research available to show culling badgers can make things worse not better.”

Plans for the cull, due to have taken place this year, were postponed until 2013 after more badgers than anticipated were found in two areas selected for pilot trials, in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Source: Telegraph

Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

Protection 4 Animals supports the total banning of the Fur Trade. Currently while officially Dog and Cat Fur is banned in many countries, this does not apply to the Raccoon Dogs being Skinned Alive for their Fur.

Make no mistake this is a Barbaric process carried out by Brutal Chinese workers, that Beat the Dogs with Iron Bars, Kick Stomp, Slam them against concrete walls/floors to stop them struggling. 

Then the Fur is Slowly Torn from their bodies in the most agonising and sickening way. They are then thrown to one side where they suffer the most horrendous deaths, that can last up to 3 hours.

Please Sign Our Petition To Stop Raccoon Dogs Being Skinned Alive and Suffering a Slow, Sickening, Horrendous Deaths. Click Here To Sign Our Petition These poor animals need your support, tell all your friends and family, thank you.

You can Email Protection 4 Animals by Clicking Here. 

Related Articles

Brian May: Me and My Animal Passions

He is one the World’s Best Guitarists He’s written some of the most memorable rock anthems of all time, and his band ‘Queen’ is a Global Phenomenon. But it’s not music he wants to be remembered for his Animal Welfare … Continue reading → 

Other Articles

Brian May: Me and My Animal Passions

He is one the World’s Best Guitarists

He’s written some of the most memorable rock anthems of all time, and his band ‘Queen’ is a Global Phenomenon. But it’s not music he wants to be remembered for his Animal Welfare Work – Saving Badgers and Foxes.

showbiz-brian-may-team-badger-campaign-launch

Brian May: ‘The day the first shot is fired against the Badgers, I will never drink another drop of milk unless I know it’s come from a humane farm.’

When Queen performed at the closing ceremony of the Olympics – Freddie Mercury, towering over the crowd in canary-yellow jacket, leading a call-and-response from beyond the grave, Brian May, crowned in his wonky halo of grey curls, squalling his way through the guitar solo from Brighton Rock, and drummer Roger Taylor, with guest Jessie J, thundering into a rendition of We Will Rock You – they did what they always managed to do so spectacularly live: unite a stadium in belting out an anthem.

Brian May, guitarist of the British rock band Queen, performs during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.

Brian May, Guitarist and Roger Taylor, Drummer of the British Rock Band ‘Queen’, performs during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, 12th August 2012, in London.

They – well May – also managed to do something new: infuriate a significant percentage of the populace. The trouble was his outfit: a characteristic combination of dark trousers, trainers and long frock coat, except from one sleeve peered the head of a fox; from the other, the black and white snout of a badger.

“He’s politicising the Olympics!” came the cry, from those who made the connection between his attire and his campaign against the government’s then imminent approval of pilot badger culls in Gloucester and Somerset.

Badger

Badger

“To the farmers struggling against bovine TB and Fox predation,” harrumphed the Countryside Alliance, “a millionaire rock star using a global sporting celebration to undermine their way of life really stuck in the craw.”

Red Fox Adult

Red Fox Adult

A spokesperson for Brian May said his jacket was in keeping with Danny Boyle’s Isles of Wonder theme, including, as it did, a hedgehog, a buzzard, two herons and an adder, “most of which are protected or in decline” – which was plausible, up to a point.

Director Danny Boyle was the mastermind behind the London Olympic 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremony's

Director Danny Boyle was the mastermind behind the London Olympic 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremony’s

For it is true that Brian May is on a mission.

“All the available scientific evidence points to the fact that the cull probably will not work,” he says now, sitting in a hotel bar in Kensington.”

“It will not save a single cow. It might do, but it’s a huge unknown – a huge extrapolation, and extrapolation of scientific evidence is a very dangerous game.”

His voice is soft, languid in the way of someone accustomed to being listened to.

“If you talk to any expert on cows and bovine TB in Britain, bar a couple who work for Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs], you will get the same answer, including from Lord Krebs.”

Krebs led the only major scientific trial of culling, a £50m study known as the randomised Badger Culling or Krebs trial, which culled 11,000 Badgers over Five Years and found that if certain conditions were met, culling could reduce disease incidence by an average of just 16% over nine years.

“Krebs said Culling is a crazy idea, we should not be doing it, we should be vaccinating,” adds May. “So I’m not a lone voice. I’m not a renegade hippy.”

On Friday afternoon, a petition he has launched with Team Badger, a coalition of various Animal Rights Groups, had more than 134,000 signatures, well in excess of the 100,000 required to get a debate considered in parliament.

(The coalition includes Brian May’s own anti-animal cruelty organisation, established when he realised, in 2010, that David Cameron would try to repeal the anti-hunting act. It is called, with the unapologetic sentimentality that imbues the songs he wrote for Queen, Save Me, and marked the end of his life-long support for the Tory party.)

British Prime Minister David Cameron will try to Repeal the Anti-Hunting Act

British Prime Minister David Cameron will try to Repeal the Anti-Hunting Act

May is working on the campaign around the clock, talking to scientists, emailing activists, doing interviews, updating his website.

“It’s threatening my life, it’s utterly consuming my life. It makes it difficult to continue a proper family life, it makes it difficult to continue music, to continue astronomy, to continue my stereoscopic adventures.”

May is, famously, unusual in the rock firmament in that he possesses a PhD in astronomy, and has written books about it (the most recent, The Cosmic Tourist, written with Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, will be published next month) and another obsession, stereoscopy.

“So I suppose I solve the problem by not sleeping very much.” He says his friends, largely, support his campaign, but that his wife, Anita Dobson – though helping with the petition, “has at times made me question whether I should be spending this much time on it”.

As we talk, his eye is suddenly caught by a scene behind us, and his voice hardens. “Sorry, excuse me, are you having trouble, Anne?” Anne is Anne Brummer, of Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue Centre in Surrey, who has rescued thousands of Animals over the past 25 years and has released many of them on to his land. A waiter has been trying to explain to Anne that the bar is not yet open. “Who says? Can we talk to your manager please?” The gentle tone is suddenly gone; in its place is the full force of rock star high-handedness.

Ann Brummer goes out on most of the rescues herself and also carries out educational work

Ann Brummer goes out on most of the rescues herself and also carries out educational work

He turns back to me. “Sorry, I hate people who say things can’t be done.” His tone is avuncular again, expansive. “It must be in my upbringing.” In what way? “Well, my parents thought we were middle class” 

Brian’s father, when May was a teenager helped him build the guitar he still uses out of motorbike valve springs, a mahogany fireplace, a bike saddle, and mother-of-pearl buttons from his mother’s button box, was an electronics draughtsman in the civil service –

“but we were very poor. They had a pride in doing things well. Life is too short for people who don’t want to do their job well.”

Speaking of jobs, it’s understandable, isn’t it, if farmers feel that it is all very well for someone in a comfortable position …

“I’m not in a comfortable position,” interjects May. “This is killing me!”

I look for a trace of irony, but it doesn’t appear to be there.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Rock stars shouldn’t have anything to say about farming. Well, sorry, it’s time to wake up. Farming, like every other industry, including mine, has to be open to change or it dies. … [And] if the price of my glass of milk on the table, or my cheese is the death of possibly hundreds of thousands of badgers, I don’t want it. I like me milk, I like me cheese, but the day the first shot is fired by the government against the badgers, I will never drink another drop of milk unless I know it’s come from a humane farm.”

Cow, Milk, Cheese and Farmer

Cow, Milk, Cheese  and Farmer

But that, as even some Anti-Cull Activists admit, is just punishing farmers further.

“No, it’s not. It’s giving people the right to choose who to support.”

What is it about him and animals, exactly? Where does this passion come from?

“It’s a childhood thing, but it’s been reinforced by the life I’ve led. I’m an astronomer.”

Even when he was touring the world with Queen, May kept up with the academic journals. He has an asteroid named after him, has spent months chasing eclipses from Mexico to Outer Mongolia, and periodically appears on the Sky at Night with his friend Patrick Moore.

“For a thousand years the Ptolemaic system was believed all round the world. The system says that the Earth is at the centre of the universe. It turns out not to be true. But this idea that we are the centre of creation lingers on – where is the justification to say we are the central piece of evolution? There is nothing to tell us that whatsoever. So why would we use that to justify our exceedingly bad behaviour?”

In fact, he said, a couple of years ago, that he would rather be remembered for his animal rights work than for music or astronomy. Really? “Yep. I won’t be remembered in 1,000 years anyway, but I would like to leave this planet knowing that I did what I could to make it a better place, a more decent place, a more compassionate place.”

Having said which, he doesn’t seem to find this campaigning lark that fulfilling.

“People say: ‘Are you enjoying it?’ No. I love my music, I love my art. And I’m quite good at it.”

Rolling Stone last year ranked him as 26th of the 100 best guitarists of all time.

“So really I should be making music – I have to have time – because if I lose music from my life, I lose my self.”

He is about to embark on a short tour with Kelly Ellis, accompanying her on acoustic guitar and performing by candlelight.

“It’s almost like a reaction to the music that made Queen famous, though if you look at it some of it’s very simple. We Will Rock You is very simple. Millionaire Waltz is highly complex.”

It is perhaps instructive – or maybe not – that May wrote We Will Rock You, while Freddie Mercury wrote The Millionaire Waltz: for all his obvious intelligence, there is something of the emotional bludgeon about May and his lyrics: they are obviously wildly effective – in 2006, Queen’s Greatest Hits became the best-selling album ever – but relatively uncomplicated (unlike his guitar solos): We Will Rock You. The Show Must Go On. I Want It All.

Musically, he and Freddie Mercury dovetailed brilliantly, but did he ever feel overshadowed and resentful of his flamboyantly gifted frontman? “No, we actually pushed him forward. It was me who designed that first cover and put him on [it]. That was my vision of what Queen’s image would be. Because Freddie was born to it. Though he was very democratic. People often said, in interviews, ‘This is your band’ – and he’d say, ‘Don’t be stupid, darling.'” May’s voice alters subtly, suddenly there’s another person in the room.

“This is a band.”

Queen's Freddie Mercury

Queen’s Freddie Mercury

What was it like, performing with Mercury again, albeit in the form of a hologram?

“It was nice. I mean, Freddie’s with us the whole time, really. Freddie’s spirit is very strong and we spent so much of our lives together, I can’t imagine a day where I wouldn’t refer to him in some way. I’m very comfortable with that now. I wasn’t in the beginning.”

In fact, he was so grief-stricken by the loss of his friend and colleague, which came at about the same time as the breakup of his first marriage and the death of his father, that he slipped into a severe depression.

“It was quite a long grieving process, but I’m comfortable with it now. He lived life to the full, he created magnificently, from his soul. He was fearless.”

During another period of depression, a suicidal episode, May went to a clinic in Arizona. “They said, ‘What is your religion, what is your spirituality?’ I said: ‘I’m not sure.’ And they said: ‘Well, we need your spirituality to be a centre for your recovery. And I kind of floundered around for a while and in the end it was looking at the stars that gave that feeling back to me.

“There’s a great thing called The Serenity Prayer,” he says. “It’s taught in all kinds of clinics – it starts off with the word God, but you can say Higher Power – ‘God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'”

He delivers the homily as if it is not cross-stitched and stuck up on wall after wall throughout the world. “To me that’s incredibly empowering and very often if I get to a sort of trough, that’s what I look at. It focuses you on the things which you can change.” And he stands up to his full 6ft 2in, plus a good five inches or so of hair, and wanders off to be photographed. From the lapel of his frock coat, a badger winks.

Mícheál Caomhánach Founder of Protection 4 Animals @P4Animals and Stop Fur Trade @StopFurTrade

Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

Protection 4 Animals supports the total banning of the Fur Trade. Currently while officially Dog and Cat Fur is banned in many countries, this does not apply to the Raccoon Dogs being Skinned Alive for their Fur.

Make no mistake this is a Barbaric process carried out by Brutal Chinese workers, that Beat the Dogs with Iron Bars, Kick Stomp, Slam them against concrete walls/floors to stop them struggling. 

Then the Fur is Slowly Torn from their bodies in the most agonising and sickening way. They are then thrown to one side where they suffer the most horrendous deaths, that can last up to 3 hours.

Please Sign Our Petition To Stop Raccoon Dogs Being Skinned Alive and Suffering a Slow, Sickening, Horrendous Deaths. Click Here To Sign Our Petition These poor animals need your support, tell all your friends and family, thank you.

You can Email Protection 4 Animals by Clicking Here.

Badger Torn to Shreds by Dogs as Men Cheered

The High Court in Belfast has heard a Badger was Torn to Shreds by Dogs as a Group of So Called ‘Men’ Cheered on the Pit Bulls.

The claim was made by a Prosecution Lawyer during a hearing for two Belfast brothers charged after a Police Investigation into Animal Cruelty and Illegal Dog Fighting.

The men were charged as part of an investigation into badger baiting

The men were charged as part of an investigation into Badger Baiting

Six others have also been charged.

Gary Kirkwood, 18, and his brother Wayne, 19, both from Island Street, were in court to seek variations to conditions to their bail.

It was granted by a district judge earlier this month.

The brothers are among six members of their family who have been charged in relation to the cruelty allegations which surfaced after police viewed video footage on a phone of alleged animal fights.

Two other men have been accused of a wide range of offences.

On Monday, a prosecution lawyer alleged in court that the ‘Attack On The Badger’ came after it had been Forced from its Set and it was dazzled by a Lamp before the ‘Dogs Killed The Badger By Tearing It Apart’ Inside Four Minutes of Hell.

He said dogs had been specifically bred for badger baiting and said Domestic Cats had been stolen to ‘blood’ the pit bulls and lurcher-type dogs.

The lawyer said the video footage showed that men encouraged the Dogs as they Attacked Badgers and Domestic Cats, which were dragged out of Cages.

He said that a number of puppies and illegal adult dogs were found in raids on properties during the investigation by police and the USPCA.

Police said they had encountered ‘an element of hostility’ as they carried out follow-up inquiries into the animal cruelty.

The Kirkwood brothers wanted electronic tags removed but police objected, saying they believed they could re-offend.

The prosecution lawyer said the digging up of badger sets usually took place at night.

A lawyer for the brothers said they were content to comply with all the other conditions of their bail but their application was rejected and they must continue to wear their tags.

Earlier this year, BBC Newsline carried out a series of reports into a USPCA operation which been tracking one gang for some time.

More On This Story

BADGER BAITING

Source: BBC NI.

Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

Protection 4 Animals supports the total banning of the Fur Trade. Currently while officially Dog and Cat Fur is banned in many countries, this does not apply to the Raccoon Dogs being Skinned Alive for their Fur.

Make no mistake this is a Barbaric process carried out by Brutal Chinese workers, that Beat the Dogs with Iron Bars, Kick Stomp, Slam them against concrete walls/floors to stop them struggling. 

Then the Fur is Slowly Torn from their bodies in the most agonising and sickening way. They are then thrown to one side where they suffer the most horrendous deaths, that can last up to 3 hours.

Please Sign Our Petition To Stop Raccoon Dogs Being Skinned Alive and Suffering a Slow, Sickening, Horrendous Deaths. 

Click Here To Sign Our Petition

These poor animals need your support, tell all your friends and family, thank you.

You can Email Protection 4 Animals by Clicking Here.

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