Staggering Badgers – Badger Trust press release

The issue of ‘Badgers and bovine TB’ and the Coalition Government’s proposals to kill badgers by free shooting was debated by MPs in Westminster Hall on October 18th. Some of the contributions by pro culling MPs were, to say the least, lacking in substance.  James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, proffered a ludicrous tale of staggering badgers. Read the Badger Trust’s take on this below. Peter Black AM coins it nicely on his blog ‘So this is what they mean by science-led’.  Full Hansard transcript of debate here (scroll down to second debate). Enjoy…..

‘Staggering Badgers’ - 31st October 2011 

MP peddles a piece of folk lore

in badger cull debate

The Badger Trust is astonished that a Member of Parliament should claim in a debate that a farmer in his constituency “saw what he thought were 30 to 40 badgers, full of TB, staggering around and unable to stand up” under a yard light.

For Mr James Gray (Con, N. Wiltshire) to introduce such a ludicrous, unsubstantiated piece of hearsay is a misuse of his position as well as perpetuating the grossly misleading piece of folk lore that farmers can “tell” when a wild animal has TB, even in semi darkness.

Firstly the farmer only “thought” the 30 to 40 badgers were “full of TB”. There is no live test for bovine TB in badgers, so the farmer could have had no grounds for his assumption.  The farmer was not even sure what the animals he had seen were, nor how many there were. “In fact it is extremely unlikely that 30 badgers would be seen together”,’.says David Williams, Chairman of the Badger Trust.

Windy assertions of this kind can have no part in a serious parliamentary discussion of what purports to be a “science-based” policy to eradicate bovine TB, but could lead only to a guesswork-led muddle.

Jack Reedy 01564 7831290775 173 1107

Badger Trust is the only charity dedicated to the conservation of badgers throughout England, Wales and all Ireland.
PO Box 708, EAST GRINSTEAD, RH19 2WNTel: 08458 287878 
Fax: 02380 233896

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