9 Nov 2010

Badgers consultation: add your voice

badger_small.gifI have previously noted the consultation re badgers and how complicated the report is - well my comments have been submitted (see below). I would urge others to also participate. In 2006, 96% of 47,000 people who responded to a government consultation were against it. This time the Badgers Trust have again produced some guidance on submitting a response - download here - it doesn't take so long to complete the 8 questions indeed all but one are yes/no answers.

Copyright photo: Badger by Tony Evans Nature Picture Library reproduced with permission from Stop War on Badgers

The consultation site is here.

Question 1 – Comments are invited on the options, costs and assumptions made in the Impact Assessment.

It is clear that the scientific evidence does not support the cull and killing badgers will not solve TB in cattle. I also have concerns about the consultation document which appaears to cherry-pick some information and is absurdly complicated. It is also in places inaccurate. For example Mr James Paice’s consultation document omits this vital conclusion about the control of bovine TB: “First, while badgers are clearly a source of cattle TB, careful evaluation of our own and others’ data indicates that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain. Scientific findings indicate that the rising incidence of disease can be reversed, and geographical spread contained, by the rigid application of cattle-based control measures alone”.

The Government’s preferred option is not viable financially - indeed it looks like it will cost more than it will save! The outcome cannot be measured and the cull cannot be effectively monitored.

I consider the measures outlined could lead to more problems for farmers. We urgently need action but this is the wrong approach. We still don't understand this issue fully. After all this time it is still unclear how badgers are supposed to give cows a respiratory lung infection. It is much easier to see how badgers catch TB from cows! I would recommend further investigation. One way that holds some hope would be along the lines of Martin Hancox - see: www.badgersandtb.com/

Question 2 – Do you agree with the preferred option?
Question 3 – Do you agree that this approach, of issuing licences to farmers/landowners, is the most appropriate way to operate a badger control policy?
It wont work: such an approach cannot be sustained.
Question 4 – Do you agree with the proposed licensing criteria for culling and vaccination?
No. I oppose a cull.
Question 5 – Do you agree that the proposed methods of culling are effective and humane?
Humane killing is not possible with 'free shooting': many will not be killed outright. I also question how safe this will be regarding members of the public in a cull area.
Question 6 – Do you agree with the proposed use of vaccination, particularly its focus on mitigating the perturbation effects of culling?
No - there is no evidence to support this. Culling causes perturbation, where badgers not killed will become stressed and are likely to move around, perhaps taking bTB with them.
Question 7 – Should anything further be done to encourage the use of vaccination?
More work is needed on vaccines.
Question 8 – Do you agree with the proposed monitoring?
No it is clearly inadequate. How for example can you monitor humane killing?

Responses which must arrive by 8th December 2010. E-mail tbbc@defra.gsi.gov.uk

1 comment:

Russ said...

I wouldn't be surprised if fox hunting drove badgers across the country spreading TB.