Tag Archives: The Badger Trust

Dominic Dyer speaks to the 2015 QCA AGM

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At this year’s AGM our speaker was Dominic Dyer, CEO of the Badger Trust, who talked about the Government’s highly controversial plan to roll out the badger cull across the country. Those against the cull say the impact of badgers spreading bTB is extremely small compared to the impact of cattle passing the disease to other cattle through poor farming practices, flawed testing for the disease, and mass cattle movements around the country.

 

Dominic’s background working in the Ministry of Agriculture means he has a broad understanding of both farming and politics. He explained that continuing retail demand for low prices on dairy and meat products has led farmers to try to supplement incomes by selling cows, necessitating this movement. Transmission of bTB from cow to cow accounts for 95 per cent of contagion while badgers account for just five percent.

 

Dominic reminded us how the recent cull was not only cruel, with badgers taking between five and 15 minutes to die and that the shooting, killing, and terrifying of these animals served to disperse them around the countryside but that the cull cost the taxpayer £6,500 per badger to implement.

 

Cruelty to badgers has increased by 100 per cent in the past five years. Dominic is not alone in believing that the demonising, indeed scapegoating of badgers, turning them into ‘culprits’ for the spread of disease, has served to increase persecution by badger baiters, hunt masters and those who engage in random acts of cruelty. The increase in badger baiting also means more abuse of dogs, the trading of lurchers and pitbulls on the internet and a surge in illegal gambling.

 

Dominic spoke about the broad range of other animal issues he is concerned with through Care for the Wild, now merged with Born Free.

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These included the continued use of wild animals in UK circuses which allows foreign circuses to bring their wild animals into the UK. The Taji dolphin slaughter Japan where dolphins are also captured alive to feed the demand for ‘performing’ dolphins, created by marine parks, and the shocking ‘canned’ hunting business in South Africa where today there are 150 lion breeding farms providing lions to shoot. Dominic also explained how huge profits made from illegal poaching of elephants and rhinos for ivory and horn is now linked with funding some of Africa’s most notorious armed groups. Our speaker suggested that diverting a percentage of foreign aid to help animals and illegal poaching could combat terrorism.

 

While all this may all sound gloomy, the greatly encouraging side is the growth of animal rights groups across the globe and our magnificent secular campaigning organisations in the UK, run by professionals with exceptional knowledge and experience in their fields. QCA has forged good links with many of these organisations and individual members can work with them to help non-human animals.

 

The Badger Trust: http://www.badgertrust.org.uk/

 

Report: Ann Johnson

The badger cull continues.

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A six week cull started on Monday 8th September in Somerset and Gloucestershire, despite the concerns regarding the efficacy and humaneness of the culling strategy from scientists, animal welfare and wildlife protection groups, and the Government’s own Independent Expert Panel.

The IEP had found that the first year of the pilot culls failed (by a significant margin) to achieve appropriate standards of both effectiveness in controlling bovine TB, and humaneness. Badgers are a protected species.

The minimum numbers of badgers to be “removed” – as the Natural England web site euphemistically calls the killings* –  this year is 615 in Gloucestershire and 316 in Somerset. Natural England says that these targets are based on estimates of the badger population in 2013 and estimates of badger activity on the ground this year.

On 21st August a legal challenge by the Badger Trust had been heard in the High Court. The Badger Trust had called for a Judicial Review on the grounds that DEFRA and Natural England had failed to put in place an Independent Expert Panel for the 2014 cull programme. The Trust contended that there was a “legitimate expectation” that an IEP should be in place to oversee data collection, analysis, and interpretation, without which no informed legal decision could be made regarding future culls. The bid was rejected, with Mr Justice Kenneth Parker ruling there were “no plausible grounds” to support the legitimate expectation claim.

However, on 10th September the Trust won the right to appeal against this decision, when Lord Justice Maurice Kay found that the trust had some arguable points and an appeal would have a chance of success. The hearing will not be scheduled before the end of the six week culling period and so will not save any badgers this year, although the decision will have implications for future policy making.

In the meantime there are nightly badger patrols in Somerset and Gloucestershire, to disrupt shooting activity and to assist wounded badgers.

Badger image from Wikimedia commons.

Links:-

Somerset Badger Patrol

Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting

The Badger Trust

*Natural England