Reprieve for Welsh badgers – Badger Trust press release

The Badger Trust welcomes the Welsh Government’s decision to conduct a review of the evidence and the best way forward in tackling bovine TB (bTB) based on the science. The Trust hopes that the decision will mean that any further steps to implement a cull in West Wales will be put on hold while the review is under way. This will be necessary to reassure farmers and other residents in the area who oppose a cull and would be subject to a severe interference with their rights to peaceful enjoyment of their property if powers were to be exercised under the draconian Order made by the last administration. The Trust is pleased to learn that the badger trapping and shooting contract has been stood down pending the review. 

While the Trust maintains that the evidence and reasoning underpinning the last administration’s decision to cull was legally flawed and was likely to have been quashed by the High Court on judicial review, the Trust is pleased that there is now to be a rigorous review by an independent panel of the strategy. 

Although the Badger Trust remains determined to take whatever legal steps are required to safeguard this protected species against unjustified slaughter, the Trust now hopes that the proposed judicial review challenge can be avoided. Badger Trust and its co-claimant supporters in the proposed cull zone are carefully reviewing the Minister’s statement overnight with the benefit of legal advice. 

The Trust also notes that the latest official bTB figures for the first quarter of this year show a continuing reduction, acknowledged by the Minister, in the number of cattle slaughtered due to bTb in West Wales: a 10% reduction in comparison with the same period in 2010. Although this is only an interim figure it continues the trend during last year as a whole which saw a 44 percent reduction from the previous year. No badgers have been killed to achieve these figures, and there has been a welcome and much-needed emphasis on stringent cattle-based measures.

5 Responses to “Reprieve for Welsh badgers – Badger Trust press release

  1. The news from Cardiff is a wonderful boost to all of us who oppose the cull, but we must not be complacent. It is at this stage only a delay and we all need to continue the pressure to persuade the Assembly to reach a humane conclusion.

    Firstly, we must satisfy ourselves that the “independent” review committee will live up to its billing. After all, the Government vet is supposed to advise the Government, but ended up as a mere mouthpiece following instructions from (ex) Minister Erin. We need assurances that the same sins will not be repeated.

    Secondly, we must scrutinise the so-called science that the committee is reviewing. As a highly trained scientist and experienced examiner of scientific doctoral theses, I have yet to see any scientific connection between TB in badgers and in cattle. Statistics yes, science no. Nobody has proved a mechanism for inter-species transfer of TB and nobody has demonstrated that it has ever happened under controlled conditions.

    The statistics have been pretty poor too. For example, 30% of badger road-kill is tubercular. This does NOT mean that 30% of badgers have TB, but rather that 30% of badgers too weak to dodge traffic are tubercular. An equally absurd analogy would be that 95% of people who were run over by trains were suicides, therefore 95% of people are suicidal.

    Thirdly, do not underestimate the bloodlust and meanness of the anti-badger brigade. Concepts such as humanity and morality have no place in their psyches. All they can see is that cattle control measures cost them time, money and effort (but they ignore the fact that they have been incredibly successful). A badger cull, on the other hand, would let them off the hook. Something other than intense farming practices is to blame for bovine TB and somebody else (ie. WAG) should therefore sort it out. We need to put the onus back on the less-reputable farmers to carry out their business more professionally. To reduce herd sizes, increase care inspections, stop relying on mass antibiotic treatments, stop spraying land with untreated slurry etc. (My sincere apologies here to the many reputable farmers who treat their stock and the environment with absolute respect and who also oppose the cull.)

    Come on fellow wildlife protectors. Don’t rest on your laurels. Let’s take this small victory another step forward and push for badger vaccination, cattle vaccination, improved TB testing and more humane farming practices.

  2. Being a dairy farmer in the cull zone i am disapointed at this anouncment. However those people who point to the strict animal controls in the cull area reducing bovine tb need to hear some truths. The amont of badgers about in the cull zone has reduced massivly in the last 12 to 24 months. I am sure to say that 2 cold winters and 2 dry springs has decimated the badger population.This is what my experiance is and that of my neighbours,the badgers on my farm are down 50% and my bovine tb sutiation is much better also. The fact was that the badger population was out of control with mild winters and damp summers giving them a very favourable time. Im praying for another hard winter!!!

  3. The news is definitely good for badgers, however I’d like to agree with “Doc” that we should not become complacent. It would be all to easy for what is to come to slip into the same habits adopted by Elin Jones and her vet, and to then focus on anecdotal evidence and statistics.
    Other patterns exist.

  4. Both the comments by “Doc” and “Waldo” are correct. But as Waldo is praying for another hard winter what he is inadvertantly saying is: Nature will take care of the problem of numbers eventually. So we need not “manage” nature by slaughtering it. The old, weak and sick will die naturally. He is however ignoring that the cattle control actions may be the reason bTB is down. This is precisely what this is all about. Pick your own answer from 2 options. He has picked the Badger as the cause. That is why we must look at this again. What we do need to do is precisely what Doc says.

  5. Waldo I haven’t heard from any other source that the badger population has been halved by the weather.
    What might be good news to you is not good news for your elderly customers, many who will die prematurely as a result of cold winters.
    The WG might have been proud of what it called a ‘holistic approach’ but sadly this approach was confined to a ‘narrow box’.
    I have checked these figures. Farming contributes 0.5% to the Welsh economy, the tourism industry 13.3%. A cull could well put off people visiting Wales especially your area. {Foot and mouth reduced tourism by 75%}. Even a modest 5% reduction in tourism would more than cancel the farming contribution to the Welsh economy.
    I won’t bore you here but the effect of a cull on the eco system has been ignored. A cull could further decimate wild birds. I appreciate that many farmers have taken measures to increase the number of wild birds in particular song birds.
    Waldo two thirds of your customers are against a cull and I applaud the Welsh Government for readdressing the problem by setting up an Independent Inquiry.
    It could well be true that vaccination will be equally as effective as a cull if not even more efficacious, and certainly more acceptable to the population – your customers, or don’t we count?.