Badger cull is needless massacre

I am horrified that thousands of badgers are due to be killed in two areas of England this summer.

It is a needless massacre driven by farmers and politicians.

Persecuting badgers for being the main vector for spreading bovine TB makes as much sense as persecuting black cats for spreading bad luck and witchcraft.

It is time that the badger stopped being a scape goat for the failings of farming.

The qualified consensus reached by the 10-year study by Independent Scientific Group is that ‘badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the control of bovine TB in Britain’.

Yes, cases have sometimes increased, but the fact remains that the finger of blame for this crisis has to point back at the farming community and bad political decisions.

They can attempt to demonise English wildlife all they want, but the intensification of farming practises and the huge increase in cattle movements are the real reasons for the spread of this disease.

Around 14 million cattle are moved across the UK each year - this number has quadrupled since 1999.

Dairy herd sizes have more than doubled since the 1970s when bovine TB was at its lowest.

There is a direct correlation between larger herd sizes and the spread of the disease.

The rush to intensify animal agriculture has led to this disastrous situation.

Dairy cows suffer the dual burden of pregnancy and lactation during much of their lives.

Their immune systems are shot to pieces and they are physically exhausted and killed at a fraction of their natural lifespan.

Add to this unreliable bovine TB testing that is inaccurate in one third of cases and you start to see the real causes of the problem.

My disgust that English badgers are still under threat is profound, and because of this Viva, a charity that is interested in reforming battery farming methods, have advised me to boycott all English dairy products - and I would encourage all those with a love of our indigenous wildlife to do the same.

Perhaps a drop in profits will bring the industry, and our politicians, to their senses.

Viva hope to reform battery farming using reliable scientific research to develop more humane farms and reform farming methods, in a way that is viable for farmers.

For more information on what you can do visit 
www.viva.org.uk/badgers

Owen Sayers

Frank’s Terrace, Whitby