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MPs postpone badger culls: the facts

25th October 2012
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On Wednesday protests restarted at Parliament ahead of the first ever debate amongst MPs about the badger cull - which eventually ended with a postponement.

What?

The powers that be have decided that they will not learn from our Australian friends who played with nature.

Instead, they are debating whether to conduct a massacre of  badgers. On Wednesday, protests restarted at Parliament ahead of the first ever debate amongst MPs on the topic, which ended with a postponement on the cull.

Why?

The badger cull is designed to rid West Country cattle of Bovine Tuberculosis, which has been spreading throughout the country. The animals are transporting the disease between herds.
According to the Independent:

"The most thorough investigation into the effects of culling, carried out over nine years, predicts that killing 70% of badgers in a large area can reduce the incidence of TB in cattle by 16 per cent.'"

However...

There is a vaccination in production at the moment which will be able to prevent the disease using methods suitable for EU regulations. 

There are also questions over recent government figures meaning that the cull may not be effective.

So, why would they not wait for the new vaccination, which will be emerging at the same time that the cull would happen?

Australia introduced rabbits to their ecosystem as a method for dealing with frogs, leading to negative consequences - they had to introduce myxomatosis on purpose.
Culling badgers is likely to lead to huge imbalance in natural food chains, which may create more problems than it will solve.

An interesting point raised by Paul Flynn, Labour MP, was that "ten times more cattle die from other diseases than from TB, but there is only compensation for TB. Why?"

Who?

The MPs supporting the cull are mostly Conservative and a good deal of farmers who have been severely effected by TB in their cattle.

How?

The next debate to be had is whether to 'free shoot' the badgers or go for the slightly more humane 'catch and kill' approach. According to Barry Gardiner (Labour), this would be ten times more effective but would also be ten times more expensive.

Where?

The West Country has been the most affected by TB in cattle, however the exact location of the trial culls is unknown.




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