Badger cull: Wildlife and animal welfare groups
condemn start of operations to tackle TB

Opponents accuse the Government of going against scientific evidence in pushing ahead with pilot culls of badgers

A A A

Wildlife and animal welfare groups have reacted angrily to news that culling of badgers to tackle tuberculosis in cattle has begun.

Opponents have accused the Government of going against the scientific evidence and public opinion in pushing ahead with pilot culls of badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire in a bid to address high levels of infection in beef and dairy herds.

Simon Nash, chief executive of Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: "We are very conscious of the hardship that bTB causes our farming community.

"However science clearly shows that a badger cull is not the solution to bTB and, in fact, the shooting of badgers could make the problem worse here in Somerset.

"This cull is a distraction and gets in the way of implementing the right mechanisms to control this disease through improved biosecurity and the roll out of cattle and badger vaccines - a view shared by many landowners here in Somerset."

The Humane Society International UK's executive director and vet Mark Jones said: "This is a dark day for Britain as science and ethics have been sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.

"Thousands of innocent badgers will now suffer and die in a completely unjustified slaughter that will at best have a marginal impact on TB in cattle and could very well make the problem worse.

"This cull isn't just about badgers, it's about the disgraceful way in which our government has cast aside scientific rigour, moral accountability and transparency to pacify those who would rather shoot wildlife than modernise the cattle industry."

The RSPCA has also condemned the cull, and said it was expecting high numbers of calls about badgers during the six-week culling period. It has set up a dedicated emergency line for calls about badgers and readied staff to cope with an increase in badger admissions.

The wildlife charity said it would be monitoring the humaneness of the cull by examining any wounded badgers brought in, and called on the Government to be more transparent about how it was assessing whether the culling was humane.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said: "Over 270,000 people signed the petition against the cull, but what we have here is the death of democracy as the Government carries on regardless.

"This is nothing but 'Cameron's Cull', done purely as the politicians can't be seen to lose face."

Robbie Marsland, UK director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said the cull "should not roll out any further until Parliament has the regrettable chance to examine the data from the 5,000 badgers that will be needlessly sacrificed in the coming weeks".

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This growing digital marketing ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable