‘Farmers who kill badgers should be stripped of organic status, claim animal rights groups’

Posted on September 21, 2012

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Yesterday (20th September), an item was posted on telegraph.co.uk titled ‘Farmers who kill badgers should be stripped of organic status, claim animal rights groups’.

‘… Animal rights campaigners have escalated the badger cull campaign by asking the Soil Association to strip participating farmers of their organic status –

Humane Society International and Care for the Wild claim consumers do not want not want to pay a premium for organic products from farms that are shooting badgers.

But the Soil Association insist that it is up to farmers if they want to carry out legal pest control on their farms.

The Government has issued a licence for farmers to kill thousands of badgers in West Gloucestershire and is expected to announce the go-ahead for a cull in West Somerset shortly.

MInisters claim the two trial culls will stop the spread of the cattle disease bovine tuberculosis, that is carried by badgers.

Mark Jones, the Executive Director of the Humane Society, said people who buy organic food love wildlife and do not want dairy products from farms taking part in the cull …

He pointed out that most organic dairy farms are in the West Country, where the cull is being carried out.

“I think that a lot of the Soil Association supporters would be concerned to hear that farms that are certified by as organic might be participating in a widespread cull of wildlife on their farms.”

Dominic Dyer, of Care for the Wild, said the “urban middle class” who pay a premium for organic food are likely to be against the cull.

“Most consumers would associate organic with higher animal welfare and protecting the environment and would feel very uncomfortable paying extra to buy milk from farms killing badgers on their land in this way,” he said.

The organic market has been struggling since the recession and Mr Dyer suggested a stand against the badger cull pay boost sales as consumers look for ‘badger friendly’ milk.

He also said supermarkets should make a stand.

“When the public start to see images of badgers being culled that will make people think about what is happening in the countryside and where their food is coming from.

“Many people will want to know their milk is not from farms killing badgers – this could be a big issue for retailers.”

However the Soil Association insisted it was up to individual farmers.

“As far as farmers licensed by the Soil Association are concerned, our standards cover all aspects of production, but not other things that happen on farms, like public access, hunting, and shooting game species. So it will be up to individual farmers to decide whether they will join groups of farmers who wish to apply for licences to vaccinate and/or cull badgers on their land, as part of any government approved programme,” said a spokesman.

Humane Society International and Care are currently seeking meetings with the Soil Association to change its mind.

Other animal rights groups are urging people to campaign against the cull and boycott any milk from areas where badgers are being killed.

No major supermarket has refused to stock milk from farms where the cull is being carried out.

The Network for Animals is lobbying supermarkets not to stock milk from farms killing badgers …’

Read the item in full and add your comment online at www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9556079/Farmers-who-kill-badgers-should-be-stripped-of-organic-status-claim-animal-rights-groups.html

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