Stars sign up to save England’s badgers

Posted on the 15th August 2013

007, M, an Avenger, Prince Vultan, Judge John Deed, a Prime Minister and a lion-hearted lady unite to Battle for Badgers

Sir Roger Moore, Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Brian Blessed, Martin Shaw, Anthony Head and Virginia McKenna OBE are among more than one hundred celebrities, scientists, naturalists, veterinarians and leading animal welfare and conservation groups to have signed a statement calling on the government to stop the badger cull. In a plea for compassion, the signatories ask the government for its policy of killing to be abandoned and replaced with more scientifically credible, humane and effective solutions to tackling bovine TB (bTB).

Two pilot culls intended to test the safety, efficacy and humaneness of killing badgers by free shooting or cage trapping and shooting are planned to begin any day now for a period of six weeks in undisclosed areas of West Somerset and West Gloucestershire. If deemed successful, these plans will then be rolled out further, throughout the West Country to Derbyshire and the Midlands, in the mistaken belief that killing badgers will have a significant impact on the spread of bTB. Up to ten licences will be issued each year for four years, possibly resulting in the killing of as many as 130,000 badgers according to Natural England.

The signatories stand in solidarity with 263,000 members of the British public who have so far signed the Stop the Cull petition launched by astrophysicist and rock guitarist Dr Brian May. It is the most successful ever government e-petition. Brian May founded Team Badger whose member groups including Animal Aid, Save Me, the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, have been joined by a host of other organisations adding their support to the joint statement, such as the RSPB, Woodland Trust, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. Their joint outreach is to approximately four million members of the public, who subscribe to these organisations in order to protect wildlife and conserve the countryside for future generations. A full list of signatories can be found on the Badger Trust website.

Brian May of Save Me, said:

‘On behalf of supporters of the Save Me campaign and 263,000 signatories of the anti-badger cull petition on the government’s website, we would like to remind the government that there is massive public opposition to this ill-fated cull, which, it is becoming ever more clear, will not be of any advantage to cattle or farmers. The government is acting, for political motives, on a course, which cannot succeed in eradicating Bovine TB. We urge David Cameron to take positive action to accelerate progress towards vaccination of wildlife and, most importantly, vaccination of the source of bTB in this country, cattle, along with full review of the skin test method of removing supposed reactive animals from herds, and an overhaul of biosecurity and movement control measures.’

Simon King said:

‘Ten years of study, the leading scientific brains, all said the cull of badgers will do nothing to improve the condition of cows and more importantly the status of bovine tuberculosis in the British Isles. This cull is a travesty – do not let it happen. We all want to see an end to Bovine Tuberculosis in the British Isles. Killing badgers is not the way forward. All the science clearly points to the cull being a waste of time, a waste of money and a waste of life. Ban the cull.’

A full list of signatories can be found on the Badger Trust website.

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