Badgers Are Being Exterminated In England For Illogical And Political Reasons
Some 63,000 badgers could be killed this autumn in England, the result of extreme “culling.” It’s being called an “act of ecological vandalism and a national disgrace,” by one conservationist. Badgers will likely be wiped out entirely from some areas, and all in the name of saving cows?
The cull is “pushing the species to the verge of local extinction in areas of England which it has inhabited since the ice age,” according to Badger Trust executive, Dominic Dyer.
The rapidly expanding cull is going to kill 50 percent more badgers than last year at this time. The effort is apparently meant to stop the transmission of bovine tuberculosis (TB), which costs farmers millions of pounds. Farming minister George Eustice gave the green light for the massacre on Wednesday. He says it’s part of a “multi-pronged approach including proactive badger control, as well as other tools such as tighter cattle controls, improved biosecurity, and badger vaccination.”
See the badgers in the video from the Humane Society below:
Politics and badgers
However one region, Derbyshire has been exempted from the badger purge. According to Eustice, that’s because a vaccination scheme was underway there. However, according to the Guardian, there appears to be another reason: politics and Boris Johnson.
“Bill Harper, the chair of the National Beef Association’s TB committee, said he believed the decision to turn down the application to cull in Derbyshire was purely political. Prime minister Boris Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, is an opponent of the cull. “It is almost like Boris Johnson is saying, ‘Oh right darling, we will not allow that one,'” Harper told Farmers Weekly.“
The badgers in one region are getting a reprieve, but killing those in other areas may not be effective at stopping TB anyway. It has been tried before, but a government-appointed review found that the impact was limited in 2018. Up to 42,000 animals were allowed to be slaughtered. If it helped, then why hasn’t it done anything to stop the cases of TB?
In fact, cases of TB instead soared to 130 percent in those areas where the badgers were exterminated. Nevertheless, proponents of the cull say that they need to kill a minimum of 70 percent of the population, or else TB could spread more widely.
The scientific evidence shows that badgers probably aren’t the primary cause of the problem. Why should they face such extreme consequences? It adds to the suffering and doesn’t stop it or save the farmers the expense of having sick cattle.
Instead, the reviewer, Sir Charles Godfray, suggests it’s the farmer’s responsibility to do more to stop transmission between the cattle.
An ignored government report
Meanwhile, an ecologist at the Zoological Society of London who helped conduct an earlier trial run of the cull says the government should go by its own study.
“The culls have expanded to unimaginable scales, covering an area larger than Israel,” said Prof Rosie Woodroffe.
“I cannot understand why the government has permitted this massive expansion of badger culling, when it has not yet responded to the Godfray Review it commissioned and received nearly a year ago,” she said.
“The review concluded the government and farming industry were paying far too much attention to badger management, and far too little attention to cattle-to-cattle transmission, which is responsible for the majority of TB incidents in cattle.”
Woodroffe suggests that badger vaccination would be a much better option, such as being conducted in Derbyshire.
Below, training in badger vaccination is carried out from Happy Habitats.
In the end, the cull will cost £60m. The cost to farmers for having sick cows is estimated at around £100m a year. How little some people value the lives of wildlife and how very much they place a value on profits. It’s time to look at the science and start valuing the lives of wildlife, from badgers to all other irreplaceable species. What is a world without wildlife worth anyway?
More from Sky News:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube