VEGA News Item

Threats to Badgers, Cattle, and Dairying Due to bTB - 25/06/2010

A pilot cull of badgers is about to start in Wales

1.  A pilot cull of badgers is about to start in Wales with the aim of curbing the spread of tuberculosis in cattle, and, as part of their pre-election pledge, the UK Goot/Coalition has indicated that culling may be in England too in the next few years. The Welsh Assembly Gout (WAG) is commissioning a pilot cull of badgers within a 288sq km (111 sq miles) area of southwest Wales. The incidence of the disease has been growing in Wales, Badger-baiting is a criminal activity loathed by all country people, and most abhor snaring and the future is likely to hold some nasty examples of ever-intensifying consequences of dairy-farming unless the Sterne messages of cutting down on consumption of meat-and-dairy are rigorously applied.

2.  The Badger Trust is fighting through the courts while, on the ground, with demonstrators out in force, those preparing to undertake the cull have had to be masked to protect their identities and safety. Can you imagine the outcry by the general public when, or if, a wide-scale cull of badgers is proposed in England? asks Pest (The independent UK pest management magazine). Especially, VEGA notes, when animal welfarists and environmentalists will be inflamed by matters of hunting and shooting and efforts at removing restrictions on the hounding of foxes, coursing of hares, and the tormenting of stags. Other offensive “sports” and activities may clash with friendly and hostile attitudes engaging factors sharing political persuasions within their own political parties or in cross-politicking with groups in their own.

3.  More than 12,000 cattle were slaughtered as a result of TB infection in 2008 (compared with 669 in 1997) at a cost of £24 million to the public purse. WAG has allocated £9 million (equivalent to £2830 per badger) over the 5-year period. Animals will be trapped in cages and shot, although the control order also allows for the shooting of roaming badgers and for the use of lethal injection. This is a highly controversial subject, entailing strife in the countryside and resort to methods of waste and cruelty offensive to many environmentalists, who are pinning hopes on development of a suitable vaccine.


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