Badger Culls in England Will Not Expand
This is great news for most of the badger population of England.
Plans to roll out the controversial badger cull pilots nationwide across England have been dropped by the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, after an independent report found the shoots were not effective or humane. The pilot programs were run in Gloucestershire and Somerset in an effort to stop the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis among cattle, and the environment department’s original plan was to announce up to 10 new cull areas each year.
"This disease is the most pressing animal health problem in the UK," Paterson said, noting that 26,600 cattle were slaughtered in 2013 and that the disease had cost taxpayers £500m in the past decade. But he accepted that "on effectivenes--- the culls did not make as much progress as we hoped."
He didn't have much choice after the British government voted last week to abandon extending badger culls to other areas this year to reduce TB in cattle. The vote was 219 in favor, and one against.
Thank you, Care2 activists! There has been a huge outcry from animal lovers worldwide in protest at this cruel cull, and Care2's petition demanding an end to the badger killings garnered almost 21,000 signatures.
The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) was appointed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help ministers evaluate the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of the two pilot programs.
Their report, published last Thursday, reveals that the pilot culls failed on a much bigger scale than previously thought. Estimates of the proportion of badgers killed within the initial six-week limit found that fewer than 39 percent of those in Gloucestershire had been shot and fewer than 48 percent in Somerset, far short of the 70 percent minimum. This in spite of the fact that contracted marksmen, paid for by farming groups, were employed to shoot the animals at night.
Badger image via Shutterstock.
Read more at ENN Affiliate, Care2.