While we've had Brian May out in Gloucestershire, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett will be visiting the North Somerset badger cull zone this weekend and joining badger patrols as they carry out a nocturnal vigil on Saturday evening.
Ms Bennett’s expression of solidarity with anti-cull protesters comes in the wake of Green Party members voting overwhelmingly in favour of an immediate end to the badger cull pilots currently taking place in Somerset and Gloucester. A motion, passed at the Party’s recent conference in Brighton, reaffirmed the Green Party position that the culls are unscientific, unethical and will cause great suffering.
A key aim of the pilot cull was to assess the humaneness of free shooting but Greens claim the methods being used to assess humaneness are completely inadequate and unscientific. In particular they point to an admission by the Government's Chief Veterinary Officer that 'there are no definitive criteria for determining humaneness'. This, say the Greens, undermines the whole project.
Here's a blog from a Somerset councillor which really digs into the problematic technical details around the cull - http://mikerigby.org/2013/09/27/badger-cull-2-update/#
Another Gloucestershire Green, Forest of Dean Green Party member Sid Phelps has been involved in wounded badger patrols in the Forest of Dean. He said:
"The government target is to shoot 5,000 of the estimated 7,200 badgers in the two trial cull areas, killing over 70% of the badger population! Along with over 300 others I have been out on regular patrols looking for dead and wounded badgers. Fortunately we've not found many so it’s clear this ill-conceived plan is not really working. Exterminating badgers is simply not the way to successfully eradicate this dreadful disease."
As we've commented before, there are real animal welfare issues for cows infected with TB, and real livelihood issues for farmers whose herds are struck. The badger cull is not going to help with this. It is not a viable answer to animal or human suffering. We need to deliver a solution based on the best research available, for the good of all.