Report available online
The Badger Trust welcomes the latest report from MPs into
bovine TB and publishes humiliating evidence which demonstrates
that Defra's vets have "absolutely no idea" about how
a badger killing policy might work in practice.
Defra was today challenged by MPs to publish the scientific evidence
underpinning the badger killing options proposed in the Government's
current consultation document on the control of bovine TB in cattle.
The challenge comes from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(EFRA) Committee. The Committee questions the validity of the consultation
exercise and reveals that Ben Bradshaw, animal welfare Minister,
asked key questions of his scientific advisors six weeks after
the consultation began.
Responding to the EFRA Committee's report, Badger Trust spokesman
Trevor Lawson commented:
"The EFRA Committee has cut to the heart of the problem with
consultation: the Government has spent millions on scientific research
into the badger question and then allowed Defra's vets to simply
ignore the results. It is painfully apparent that the key lesson
of foot and mouth disease - to base policy on sound science - has
not been learned.
"The disastrous handling of this consultation raises fundamental
questions about the quality of strategic thinking in Defra and
the ability of its senior vets to grasp and then utilise critically-
important scientific evidence."
Today, the Badger Trust reveals the depth of ignorance in Defra,
by publishing a statement made at a focus group exercise that took
place last week. The exercise, involving "Citizens Panels" organised
by consultancy Opinion Leader Research, presented members of the
public with information from Defra about its badger culling proposals.
A list of Frequently Asked Questions contains the following statement:
"19. Are you planning to get rid of badgers from whole areas
of the country?
"No. The aim of a cull would be to reduce the badger population
so as to reduce the likelihood of contact between cattle and badgers
and not to get rid of all badgers. The numbers killed will depend
on the area and the population of badgers in that area. We would
not be seeking to remove a specific number."
Trevor Lawson commented: "Two key conclusions can be drawn
from this extraordinarily vague statement. First, this makes it
clear that the extermination of badgers would be endless, because
this strategy of population reduction has no end-game or exit strategy.
"Second, Defra's vets clearly have absolutely no idea about
how many badgers would need to be killed in order to deliver a
satisfactory benefit. Moreover, they would not be able to distinguish
between the effect of killing badgers and the benefits of better
TB testing for cattle. The vets are simply clueless and from a
scientific standpoint, this policy proposal is a gross humiliation
call for humane badger culling
farmers in TB damaged area must support badger cull
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