26 Oct 2007

Don't mess with the badgers

Healthy now, I must admit I haven't looked at a computer screen since tuesday...been busy around Green Parties in Monmouth, Bath and Birmingham and even did an office occupation in support of new housing for people on the Masefield Estate, Birmingham.

Right back to blogging...here is Caroline's statement against culling.

Culling badgers 'counter-productive'

23rd Oct 2007


Badger culling is a distraction to the uncomfortable truth

Green Party Principal Speaker Caroline Lucas today criticised the the government's Chief Scientific Advisor's recommendation that culls of badgers should be carried out to control the TB epidemic in cattle.

Sir David King said yesterday that culling badgers was the 'best option available at the moment to reduce the reservoir of infection in wildlife'. His recommendation is in stark contrast to the views of the Independent Scientific Group report into the matter - a near 10- year government study of badger-culling which found that culling could 'make no meaningful contribution.' (1)

Dr Lucas, a former vice-president of the EU's committee of inquiry into the UK's foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001, said:

"Culling badgers to control the spread of TB in cattle appears to be completely counter-productive.

"A culling-based TB strategy in South-West England led to an increase in cases amongst cattle, and to cases developing in areas that had previously been free of the disease."

"We need a rational, evidence-based policy for halting the spread of bovine TB, 80 per cent of which is caused by cattle-to-cattle infection and has nothing whatsoever to do with badgers. In the remaining cases, culling badgers could be increasing the range of neighbouring populations, causing the disease to spread more widely."

"Badger culling is a distraction - and the uncomfortable truth is that bovine TB is more likely to be spread between cattle kept in crowded quarters. The answer is more likely to lie in improving animal welfare standards."

ENDS

Notes for Editors

(1) To see the full report please download it at http:// www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/abouttb/badgers.htm#public

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