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.
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."
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