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Welsh Badger Consultation: suggested responses
Posted 16 November 2010
The closing date for this consultation is 17th December 2010. Below are our suggested responses to the consultation questions. Please do put these in your own words if possible.
Question 1: Do you object to the culling of any wildlife for the purposes of controlling disease in farm animals? If yes, please explain why.
Yes. I don’t believe it is ethical to kill wild species in order to appease the animal farming lobby, the primary aim of which is also to kill animals and market their flesh, milk and eggs. Wild species should be protected and respected, not persecuted and blamed for a disease not of their making.
Question 2: In view of the fact that a licence for an injectable vaccine for badgers is now available, do you think that vaccination of badgers in bovine TB endemic areas is a viable alternative to culling to prevent disease transmission? If yes, please explain why?
Yes. It has been reported that models and field trials prove that vaccination protects badgers from TB, and can reduce the incidence of disease in both badgers and cattle.
Question 3: Do you believe that culling badgers can achieve a reduction in bovine TB incidence in cattle, to justify its use? If no, please explain why?
No. The Independent Scientific Group of scientists this year re-stated that ‘badger culling is unlikely to contribute effectively to the control of cattle TB in Britain’.
I believe that stressed animals living in appalling conditions are much more likely to suffer from bTB. There are many cases of dairy cows who do not suffer from bTB, even though cows on neighbouring farms do because of better husbandry and improved biosecurity.
A June 2007 Farm Animal Welfare Council report indicated a significant problem of dramatically declining ‘stockmanship’ skills with less than 1 per cent of farm workers taking up training and certification opportunities. In the report, FAWC stated that: there is a ‘lack of formal training, and poor quality training’. And the instruction that is on offer often produces mere paper qualifications that do ‘not equate with competence in the work place’.
Bovine tuberculosis is already declining, unlike other painful and debilitating conditions that affect dairy cows, including mastitis, diarrhoea, infertility and lameness. It is cynical of farmers and the WAG to ignore these conditions, which could be eased significantly by improving the lives and environment of cows, and instead to focus on bTB and blame a wild animal. Farmers need to get their house in order.
Question 4: Do you agree that the Intensive Action Area has a high incidence of bovine TB in cattle which needs to be dealt with? If no, please explain why?
The rate of bTB is declining and must decline further using movement restrictions, improved biosecurity, improved housing, ventilation and welfare.
Question 5: Do you believe that access to land for culling badgers should be enforced? If not, why not? Please give reasons for your answer.
No. It is draconian of the state to force entry onto anyone’s land, and shocking that it would even consider doing so, especially for such a nefarious activity.
Question 6: On balance, do you think the benefits of culling outweigh the harm caused to the badger population in the Intensive Action Area? Please give reasons for your answer. Would you include other factors in the balance of harm and benefits? If so why?
No. A cull would obviously harm badgers, risk spreading bTB further and won’t help cows. It is an utterly pointless and unethical scheme.
Question 7: Do you agree with the prohibitions under the draft Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2010? If not, why not?
No. The prohibitions, which include protecting wild badgers to prevent their destruction or helping someone else to do so, are vicious and immoral.