In advance of their meeting today, the Badger Trust today advised
the British Veterinary Association, British Cattle Veterinary Association, National Farmers Unions and other bodies that they
are drinking in the last chance saloon regarding their credibility
on the bovine TB issue.
“These organisations are meeting together today [24 August]
to discuss the issue of bovine TB in cattle,” explains
Trevor Lawson, spokesman for the Badger Trust. “It is the
last chance that these bodies have to demonstrate a sane and sound
understanding of the science that informs the TB debate.
“They are drinking in the last chance saloon. If the result
of the meeting is yet another call for badger culling, it will be
clear that both veterinary and farming lobby groups are incapable
of grasping the complexities of bovine TB and adopting a rational
approach to controlling the disease.”
The Badger Trust has today published a critique of recent claims
from these organisations, highlighting key flaws in their current
policies and distortions of the scientific evidence base.
Trevor Lawson explained: “Taken together, veterinary and farming
lobby groups have been making three key errors in their approach to
“First, they have so far failed to distinguish between controlling
and eradicating bovine TB. Control is feasible but eradication is
not, even though it is very desirable. Unless they make that distinction,
their policies will remain unrealistic.
“Second, the demand for badger culling has been based on dogma,
not fact. As a result, they have collectively failed to offer a badger
culling strategy which is publicly acceptable, cost-effective, practicable
or which does not conflict with the scientific evidence. This is not
surprising, since such a strategy is impossible.
“Third, by meeting together, vets and farming lobby groups
have presented themselves as an unholy alliance rather than constructive
partners in the debate. This has been particularly damaging to the
veterinary profession, which gives every impression of being led by
the nose by farmers and by a minority of vested interests within the
“In our view, under the cloak of their professional qualifications,
a number of vets are failing to disclose that bovine TB is actually
an increasingly important source of income to large animal veterinary
practices as the number of farmers declines. Rather than taking an
objective and scientific stance on bovine TB policy, they have consistently
repeated what farmers – their customers – have demanded.
This discredits the profession and weakens public confidence in the
trustworthiness of vets.
“This meeting is an opportunity for vets and farmers alike
to acknowledge the significant reality that large, landowning organisations,
such as the National Trust, Wildlife Trusts and RSPB, recognise that
killing badgers is not a viable to control bovine TB.”
The Badger Trust’s critique addresses the flaws in four key
claims recently made by the NFU and veterinary lobby groups.
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