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Badger Trust dismisses "cynical extermination strategy"
12/09/06

The Badger Trust yesterday dismissed a new policy on bovine tuberculosis from the farming industry. The policy was published on 29 August and calls for the widespread extermination of badgers using trapping, shooting, gassing and snaring.

badger

Trevor Lawson, Badger Trust spokesman, said:

"We have examined the policy and it is clearly a cynical attempt to persuade the Government to exterminate badgers across vast areas of the countryside. We estimate the total area involved would be at least 25,000 km2.

"But the policy is completely worthless, because it fails to make a practical, scientific or economic case. It offers up a ludicrous bureaucracy to oversee badger extermination, but fails to commit any of the organisations involved to paying for it. Presumably, tax payers are expected to foot the unspecified bill.

"Much of the wording is simply laughable. For example, the organisations propose that culling areas should have 'hard physical boundaries'. Since badgers cross roads and many rivers, the only practical boundary is the coast. If they start culling, they would not be able to stop until they hit the sea. Nor do the signatories explain how to address the inevitable issue of non-co-operation from landowners, as already acknowledged in the Krebs badger culling trial. They are simply not living in the real world.

"The policy has apparently been endorsed Dr Freda Scott-Park, a dairy farmer and president of the British Veterinary Association. She hopes to achieve 'consensus' on the policy with conservationists 'if only they would listen to reason'. Unfortunately, Dr Scott-Park has not attempted to contact us and failed to respond to a letter that we wrote to her in 2005, asking her to explain in detail the rationale of the BVA's badger culling policy.

"As we predicted the latest meeting of farming organisations has come up with an entirely predictable statement on badger killing that lacks all credibility because it cannot be justified on practical, economic or scientific grounds."

link Stakeholders agree on TB - now Government needs to act
link Vets and farmers in "last chance saloon", advise conservationists
link Roll out of TB blood test (IFN-g) is positive move - NBA
link New TB testing regime is step forward but no solution

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