Molly has responded with dismay to the announcement that further badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have been given the go ahead. ‘Supplementary culls’ have been agreed for both counties by Natural England, the public body sponsored by DEFRA to protect England’s nature and landscapes.
The cull claims to be for the purpose of ‘preventing the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB)’, but an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) in 2013 appointed by the government to assess the effectiveness of the culls concluded that they were ‘ineffective and inhumane’.
Responding to the news of further culls in the South West region, Molly said:
“It beggars belief that the government continue with this failed policy, which was fully rejected by the independent panel that the government itself appointed to assess its culling programme. In an area like the South West, where farmers are so deeply affected by bovine TB, we need effective and scientifically grounded policy to deal with this terrible disease.
“The Conservatives should focus their efforts on humane and evidence-based controls and real long-term solutions, such as extending programmes of badger vaccination and investing in developing cattle vaccines.
“The government could look to Wales where scientifically supported techniques including rigorous TB testing, tighter controls on cattle movement, and strict biosecurity measures have led to significant reductions in bovine TB in cattle.”