There is no alternative, chief scientist tells badger protesters, as cull begins
Those who are opposed to the shooting ‘need to come up with some viable alternative'
Defra’s chief scientist has launched a thinly veiled attack on opponents of the Government’s highly controversial badger cull – saying they have failed to come up with any effective alternatives.
In a letter to The Independent Professor Ian Boyd says it is crucial to reverse the rapid spread of tuberculosis through cattle, in part by culling the badgers that help spread the disease. He takes issue with critics of the culling programme, which officially commences on Saturday, arguing that “scientific research does support the decision to cull badgers”.
“TB is relentlessly spreading through the countryside and we need to use the tools available to us,” he writes. “Those who do not want culling need to be clear about how they would tackle the disease. The currently available injectable badger vaccine is not a viable method of widespread control in England, and there is less evidence it is effective at reducing TB in cattle than exists for culling.”
Although the trial badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset can begin today, it is up to the culling companies to decide on the timing and they are not expected to proceed for at least a fortnight.
Once they start, the trials must be concluded within six weeks, during which a total of about 5,000 badgers, or 70 per cent of the population in the cull zones, must be killed.
Many scientists argue the cull will make matters worse, increasing movement of infected animals, as fleeing badgers take disease to new areas and vacated areas are colonised by animals from elsewhere.
Animal rights activists are targeting farmers and marksmen involved in the cull and planning to locate and disrupt the secret night-time shoots, in some cases by using vuvuzelas and bright torches to frighten badgers away.
Peter Jones, president of the British Veterinary Association, which supports the cull, called on protesters not to disrupt the culls. “We understand this is a highly emotional issue, but we must be able to gather evidence to enable future policy decisions to be based on science,” he said.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...