27 Apr 2012
Stroud District Council say no to badger culling on their land
The motion about incinerator was unanimously passed this evening - see my blog here. It is far too late but I'm blogging to unwind before sleep!? There were other motions that squeezed through successfully to improve our democratic process but this blog is on badgers...
There was a Labour/Green motion to prevent badger culls in Stroud District - and to sign up to the Stroud 100 (see link at end of previous blog here).
Well there was an hour debate and I have to say that on the whole it was of a very high quality and well informed - by the time it came to my turn many had said already alot of the factual stuff....I did start with noting that in 2005/6 I was part of a SW Green party group looking into the issue of badgers and Tb. I then met farmers and vets who had considerable experience of Bovine Tb and not for one moment should we underestimate the impact it has on farming. Indeed during the evening a couple of farmers spoke about their own and others experiences.
At that time I had an open mind as to how Tb should be tackled but the more I looked into it the more I discovered how little we knew despite many many years of research. I was shocked by the misinformation on both sides of the debate – there is just not the evidence to take the drastic step of a cull. Indeed the evidence is that it could lead to a worsening of the situation with both badgers and cattle dying. A cull is not cost-effective or humane.
Anyway I supported the motion that was carried - largely due to a fair number of people abstaining. I didn't even get the chance to mention that five years ago I climbed into a very uncomfortable and heavy badger outfit to help collect support against a cull - indeed am sure you could find lots on that by clicking on the badger label below and scrolling through older posts.
The bad news is that farmers still have a nightmare to contend with - but the good news on this front nationally is the Judicial Review being called by the Badger Trust which seeks to overturn the decision to allow culling. Indeed I am hoping I do not need again to climb into the badger outfit! In the judicial review, the Badger Trust will argue for Defra's decision to be overturned based on three grounds:
1. Defra projections that the incidence of TB could be reduced by 12-16% over nine years. The Protection of Badgers Act says licences to kill can be granted for "preventing the spread of disease" - and the trust argues that the slow-down in the rate of increase, or "reduction in new incidence", projected by Defra does not qualify as "prevention".
2. Government plans for trials to involve "free shooting" of badgers in pilot areas is likely to be ineffective or a hazard to public safety. It says that, after the pilots, farmers may be forced to trap badgers before shooting them which it says could be 10 times more expensive than free shooting. No country in the world where wildlife carries TB has eradicated the disease in cattle without tackling it in wildlife too” Defra This, it says, would damage the government's economic case.
3. Guidance given to government agency Natural England - which Defra has tasked with issuing culling licences - is unlawful.
See Guardian article with more here.