Posts Tagged Defra
Animal rights groups search Gloucestershire for wounded badgers as second phase of pilot badger cull begins
ANIMAL rights groups have started their search for wounded badgers across Gloucestershire as the second round of the pilot cull has begun.
The next phase of culling started last night in a bid to eradicate bovine TB in cattle by shooting 615 animals, Defra has announced.
Opponents say a vaccination programme would be more effective in tackling the disease.
Scott Passmore, from A Wildlife with Animals which is based in the Forest of Dean, said: “We started at Newent and at one point we were near Deerhurst and I have mammal handling equipment in the car and many badger setts can be seen from the roadside.
“We did not find any wounded badgers last night. But my view is this is totally wrong and if anything this is going to make TB worse.
“They should be addressing the real problem, which is cattle movement and bio-security on farms.
“We have been finding lamb carcasses left in fields, deer heads hanging on trees and we have been finding all sorts of undesirable things left in fields but unfortunately the wildlife is being used as a scapegoat.”
Activists operating for the Gloucestershire Badger Office patrolled most of the zone which lies between the M5, M50 and A40 to guard badger setts from cull marksmen.
Anti-cull campaigner Drew Pratten, from the Forest of Dean, said: “We had a phenomenal amount of support last night including people from Manchester and Derbyshire saying ‘we are here for one night, what can we do’?
“There are people actually guarding setts, people on lookout points and at crossroads where we can see what’s happening.”
NFU president Meurig Raymond said in the South West, where bovine TB is endemic and where herds are being reinfected despite farmers’ best efforts to protect the, controlling the disease in badgers has to be an essential part of any strategy to wipe the disease out.
He said: “Nobody would choose to kill badgers if there was an effective alternative in areas where TB is rife. But if we’re ever going to get on top of TB in areas where the disease is endemic there is no other choice.
“The chief vet has said culling over a four-year period in both pilot areas will have an impact on disease control. I am confident that these pilot culls will help deliver a reduction in bTB in cattle and it is vital that they are allowed to be successfully completed so they can deliver the maximum benefits.
Environmental secretary Elizabeth Truss said the Government is pursuing a comprehensive strategy supported by leading vets which includes cattle movement controls, vaccinating badgers in edge areas and culling badgers where the disease is rife. She said: “This is vital for the future of our beef and dairy industries, and our nation’s food security.
“At present we have the highest rates of bovine TB in Europe. Doing nothing is not an option which is why we are taking a responsible approach to dealing with bovine TB.”
The pilot cull will run for the next six weeks.
Considering all the data I have read appears to indicate that badger culling to control tuberculosis not only does not work but actually makes it worse as it encourages badgers to move around more, I find it very disappointing that the BVA would support such a dubious activity.
Dr. F. Bunny
The following article appears at: http://www.farminguk.com/news/Veterinary-association-to-support-second-year-of-badger-culls_30544.html.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has said it will support the second year of the pilot culls in England. This follows Defra’s response to BVA’s call for improvements to humaneness and effectiveness in light of the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) report on the first year.
The IEP report, published in April, found that the first year of culling failed to meet criteria for effectiveness (in terms of the number of badgers removed) and that the method of controlled shooting had failed to meet the criteria for humaneness. BVA welcomed the report and called on Defra to implement all of the IEP’s recommendations fully.
BVA has remained in constant dialogue with Defra and met with the then Secretary of State Owen Paterson, the Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens, and other Defra officials to seek clarification on Defra’s proposals, as well as calling for robust monitoring and collation of results and independent analysis and audit by a non-governmental body.
Defra has moved considerably, confirming a number of changes to its plans. In particular, Defra has confirmed that:
– shotguns would not be used for controlled shooting
– contractor selection, training and assessment would be enhanced
– the number of field observations of shooting and number of post mortem examinations of badgers would be in line with that carried out in year one
– real-time information would ensure a better distribution of effort and that poor performing marksmen would be removed from the field
In addition, and in response to BVA, Defra has committed to an independent audit of the way the protocols are carried out during the cull. BVA is satisfied that the appointment of such an auditor addresses many of our original concerns. However, BVA will continue to call upon the new Secretary of State to put in place independent analysis in order to give confidence to the wider public.
BVA’s position on any further rollout of controlled shooting as a method to cull badgers (and its continued use in the pilots) will be decided once we have assessed the outcomes of the second year.
Commenting, BVA President Robin Hargreaves said: “BVA has always maintained that we could only support the use of controlled shooting as a method to cull badgers if it was found to be humane, effective and safe. We supported the findings of the Independent Expert Panel and called on Defra to implement the recommendations fully.
“We therefore welcome Defra’s proposals to improve humaneness and effectiveness in light of the IEP report, and we have been pleased how far Defra has moved towards BVA’s position, in particular by ensuring a robust and independent audit is in place.
“It is essential that Defra gets this right to allow the veterinary profession to have confidence that controlled shooting can be carried out humanely and effectively. We continue to call upon the Secretary of State to put in place independent analysis of the second year of culling to give confidence to the wider public.
“Badger culling is a necessary part of a comprehensive bovine TB eradication strategy that also includes strict cattle measures and vaccination. Culling remains a hugely emotive issue but we must tackle the disease in both cattle and wildlife. Scientific evidence supports the use of targeted, humane badger culling to achieve a reduction in the disease in cattle.
“I’m proud that the veterinary profession has had such a significant influence on Defra’s position and we will continue to engage with the government to ensure the pilot culls are humane and effective.”
Found at http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059991389.
Erica Rex, E&E Europe correspondent
ClimateWire: Friday, December 6, 2013