Bovine TB and the badger cull

Mr. Brock, courtesy of Eleanor Ludgate

Mr. Brock, courtesy of Eleanor Ludgate

Roselle Angwin writes:


The badger cull, due to be rolled out in Devon and Cornwall this summer, 2014, after its inconclusive and controversial trialling in Somerset and Gloucestershire in 2013, is a highly complex and emotive issue. It’s one that has brought out more public opposition than almost any recent issue, with 80% of the British public polled coming out against the cull.

The anti-cull petition, raised by Brian May, ex-Queen guitarist, had seen a quarter of a million signatures by June last year. The hope was that it would stop the trial culls. It didn’t, and these happened – but turned out, for many reasons, to be largely ineffectual in terms of their aims (number of badgers killed), and utterly inhumane in their application.

It’s also, of course, devastating to farmers to lose whole herds of cattle to TB; especially when the herd has been built up over generations. Some farmers face bankruptcy if their herd is slaughtered as a result of positive TB tests. Current policy dictates that after a positive test, a farm must effectively be locked down, with infected cattle carted off to be destroyed, along with, in many cases, same-herd animals who are later found to be clear of the disease. Any notion of normal business is suspended. The financial and emotional toll on farmers is huge. Worse, an average of 20% of the test results for bTB are incorrect*.

There is a lot of information out there on the internet. My concern here is to present an overview of the main facts.

A great deal of the legwork for all this has been put in by Ama Menec, founder and chair of the active Totnes Badger Vaccination Action Campaign Devon-wide badger vaccinations.


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