Conservationists today dismissed the NFU's call for a targeted
cull of diseased badgers as "laughable", pointing out
that this is precisely what the entire scientific community agrees
will make the bovine TB situation worse.
Trevor Lawson, spokesman for the Badger Trust, said: "Everyone
in the scientific community, from Sir David Attenborough to Defra's
own Science Advisory Council, agrees that targeted badger culling
will spread bovine TB. It creates a vacuum which draws in other
badgers, spreading the disease further afield.
"Officers of the NFU are either deaf to the scientific advice
or simply unable to grasp it. For the NFU to demand targeted culling
now is simply laughable, because they haven't got a scientific
leg to stand on. We really pity farmers who depend on the NFU for
intelligent leadership, because on this issue they certainly are
not getting it.
"It's also interesting to note that the NFU fails to mention
how many badgers should be killed. But Defra's own consultation
proposes minimum culling areas within 1km of farms with TB and
Ben Bradshaw has now admitted that this covers an area of up to
25,000 square kilometres . The NFU conveniently fails to explain
how badgers across that vast area could be humanely and efficiently
killed, notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of them
will not even have TB?
"The NFU is trying to pretend that they are interested in
welfare, by arguing that they only want to kill diseased badgers.
But as the NFU well knows, you can't determine the TB status of
any badger until you've killed it."
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