MPs to debate failure of the badger cull

The RSPCA is urging all MPs to attend an important debate in Parliament on Wednesday (December 11) as the last opportunity to decide the future of the badger culls.

We were relieved when the Government put a stop to the pilot cull in Gloucestershire last week after it became clear that their targets were not going to be reached and the trials had failed to meet the goals set by the Government.

Now action is needed to stop plans to roll out this misguided cull out across the country.

RSPCA Head of Public Affairs David Bowles said: “This is the time for MPs to speak up and make sure these crazy plans for ten possible culls in the next year are not made in secret.

“It is clear that the pilots in Somerset and Gloucestershire have been a colossal failure from start to finish and the idea of continuing the cull in other areas goes against the science, humaneness and even the tests set by the Government. Yet ministers seem deaf to any cry other than killing badgers.

“We urge all those who feel strongly on this issue to ask their MPs come along to the debate and make sure their voice is counted.

“The issue needs to be brought back to parliament for proper political scrutiny, and that the report into the pilot culls made public, before any decision on the badger cull roll out.”

At least 1,861 badgers have been needlessly killed since August. There has been no proof that culling badgers is practical, achievable or humane and we know now that you cannot shoot or trap enough badgers to meet the conditions on reducing bovine TB. In fact scientific experts have warned that their deaths could actually be making the spread of TB in cattle worse instead of better.

The Gloucestershire cull ended last week, three weeks ahead of schedule, after those shooting the badgers did not meet even their reduced target.

The initial six-week pilot cull ended in October, but was then extended for another eight weeks because only 30% of the local badger population were killed rather than the 70% which scientists said was necessary for the cull to have any chance of reducing bovine TB in cattle.

The trial cull in Somerset was also extended after failing to meet its initial target, but still failed to reach the required target of 70% after the extension.

The current cull methods are based on the findings of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial which removed about 70% of the badger population in the proactive cull areas over a much shorter period of time. By removing less than the required number of badgers the cull companies may have made the situation worse as the remaining badgers will move further and so spread the disease further afield – a process called perturbation.

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