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

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Protection 4 Animals Worldwide

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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. 

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