The Badger cull

This is a blog from someone who seems firmly against those who are against the badger cull, so anything that can be gleaned from here to support the badger cull protesters is worth looking at, in my opinion.

The main thrust of his argument is that bovine TB isn’t rife on the Isle of Man (which has no badgers at all) they have had a few cases that have occurred when cattle have been imported from here, which they have jumped on and sorted.

The thing is, the Isle of Man has still had bovine TB and it has no badgers at all. So, we could completely exterminate all badgers on mainland UK and still have Bovine TB. They have been successful in jumping on new cases because they can control, very strictly, what comes on to their island. We import cattle from a wider geographical range and through more ports.

We do have bovine TB rife in this country and we would have a much harder job eliminating it from the cattle population even after (if) we exterminated all badgers than the IOM do with their occasional outbreaks. bTB is spread by urine, so once an area is infected then it can get into all sorts of animal populations, as this blog says;

“The Isle of Man is also looking at its own particular ‘wildlife’ in case a reservoir is building. They are mindful of problems not a million miles away from their shores. They may not have badgers – they do have feral ferrets, wallabies and polecats. If an outbreak cannot be traced to imports the IOM authorities comment:

‘We can clear up our outbreaks without further breakdown because we don’t have a large reservoir of infected badgers.
We think it may be circulating to a minor extent outside cattle and are looking for a wildlife reservoir – suspects at the moment are feral wallabies, feral cats, polecats and rats.
If and when we find proof of an infected wildlife reservoir, we will take action to control/eradicate.
If any badgers were to be imported and released illegally, we would take immediate steps to eradicate on the grounds that they are non-indigenous species and a threat to our national herd.’ ”

So, the Manx government may not have a badger population to exterminate but they are looking at other wildlife. This has a couple of implications;

1)culling badgers to extermination may well not be enough. We may have to exterminate a whole other group of mammals if that’s the way we decide to deal with bTB.

2)”If any badgers were to be imported and released illegally, we would take immediate steps to eradicate on the grounds that they are non-indigenous species and a threat to our national herd.”

For them badgers are not an indigenous species, they are for us. Do we really want to exterminate an indigenous species? And possibly several other groups while we are about it?

Then there is this;

Stripping this down to its basics, it means that if this cull goes ahead it will be impossible to tell if has worked or not, or whether something else has affected the results, so to call it a trial is disingenuous at best.

Badgers are an easy target – they don’t move territories very much unless pushed to do so and their setts are fairly obvious. All of which means that they are easy to find and kill. Equally it means they would be easy to find and vaccinate.

This cull is not going to be cheap – it may be cheaper than than doing it scientifically and measuring the results, but it’s still going to cost the taxpayer a lot of money. And for what, ultimately? For something that won’t work and will damage our wildlife.

It’s also not going to be very pretty;

Not only will the ‘humaneness’ of the cull not take into account those who crawl underground to die, it won’t measure the babies who will starve to death because their mother has been shot and killed. This cull was supposed to take place much earlier in the year but was delayed because bad weather meant it was logistically difficult. There is a reason hunting seasons are usually in the autumn.

Thanks to all those who have signed up to the petition – it has helped us get to this point where there will be a vote in parliament. Writing to your MP is still important, though. Your MP won’t be reading through the petition names to see how many of their constituents have signed up to it before deciding which way to vote – the only way to influence their vote is to write and tell them what you, as their constituent, wish them to do.

‘Dr. Brian May ‏@DrBrianMay 31 May

Even if your MP is an ass, and you think he/she won’t listen, please STILL WRITE and send a letter to say you expect him to oppose the cull.’  (that was a tweet, by the way)

They may listen, they may not, but if enough people do write, then an MP who might otherwise be an ass might just change their mind. It’s worth it. It really doesn’t take long to google your MP and get their contact details. Mine has a parliamentary email address, so I expect most if not all other MPs do.

You are, after all, on the internet anyway to read this. 😉


About kentishlol

Wife, mother of three, dog owner, and rank amateur at everything. You don't really want to know that I bake, knit, garden, make marmalade and sloe gin, do you? Thought not.
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