‘Attenborough and King back the badger’

Posted on September 21, 2012


Yesterday (20th September), the Badger Trust issued a media release which they posted on ther web-site, titled ‘Attenborough and King back the badger’.

‘… Attenborough and King back the badger
“It’s science not sentiment that’s driving our opposition to the Government’s policy to cull badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset this autumn”

Chris Packham
“It’s simply unforgivable”

Sir David Attenborough and Simon King OBE have expressed their extreme sadness at the Coalition Government’s plans to shoot badgers this autumn in England despite overwhelming scientific evidence against culling as a solution to bTB in cattle.

Their remarks follow the news on September 17th that Natural England had issued the first licence for a pilot badger cull in Gloucestershire, and planned to issue a second for Somerset shortly. They added: “Even Lord Krebs has described the proposed cull as ‘crazy’ (1) “. Lord Krebs designed the £50 million culling trials of 1998-2007 and is now Principal of Jesus College, Oxford.

The Chairman of the Badger Trust, David Williams, stresses: “Badgers have been killed since 1975 to stop the spread of bTB and the scientific data shows, repeatedly, that it just does not work”.

Many leading scientists have stated that a cull this autumn will not work and may even increase the spread of bTB. Since 2007, the majority of scientists have advocated the vaccination of badgers and ultimately of cattle as a far better and more cost-effective option. They are surprised that successive Governments have not embraced this approach more whole-heartedly and the Badger Trust regularly hears from scientists that it has been like banging their heads against a brick wall.

Sir David Attenborough and Simon King OBE say: “We are extremely saddened by the Government’s determination to proceed with culling when there are alternatives that could meet multiple policy objectives – reduce bTB in badgers and cattle AND prevent the unnecessary killing and maiming of one of Britain’s best loved wild mammals”. They point out that wildlife filmmakers in this country have spent the last six decades trying to inspire and promote understanding and respect for wildlife both nationally and internationally. They ask, “How can we now expect any other nation, especially a poor developing country, to conserve its wildlife whenever there is a conflict with short-term economic and political interests?”

The Badger Trust is adamant that the UK Government should be leading the world by example at a time when wild species across the planet are declining rapidly. It should apply win-win solutions such as vaccination that balance the needs of farmers, badgers and the public interest. Instead it chooses to press ahead with killing thousands if not hundreds of thousands of one of Britain’s most iconic wild species. This is despite the deep reservations of scientists and 69 per cent of the public who responded to the Coalition’s own consultation.

Chris Packham, the broadcaster and naturalist, has recently joined the Badger Trust’s campaign and says: “This is the darkest day for badgers in Britain and a shameful one for all of us. Britain prides itself on its excellence in the field of science and technology, and yet science is being forsaken and badgers are about to be sacrificed for no apparent sensible reason. It’s simply unforgivable.” …’

Read the item at www.badger.org.uk/_Attachments/Resources/706_S4.pdf

Please support the ‘stop the cull’ campaign.


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