25 August 2013
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, speaking tonight as protesters gathered before the planned start of the slaughter of up to 5,000 badgers in six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire, condemned the cull plan as inhumane and unscientific.
Bennett said: “I completely understand the distress that the continuing problem of TB in cattle is causing to farmers. But wanting to do something should not be pushing this government to make the terrible decision to go ahead with this cull, which could actually magnify the TB problem.
“As the Randomised Badger-Culling Trial (RBCT) concluded, the focus of funding and research should be cattle-based measures to control TB, and funding for badger vaccination trials should be restored.
“The planned actions in Somerset and Gloucester are inhumane and not backed by the scientific evidence.”
Caroline Allen, veterinary surgeon and Green Party Spokesperson on animal issues, said: "This is a massive undertaking and there are so many ways in which this cull could go wrong. The ‘perturbation effect’ is likely to result in the incidence of TB actually increasing. When you bear in mind that the measure of success is a reduction in TB of around 15%, i.e. leaving 85% of the disease untouched, this all seems completely nonsensical."
Bennett added: “This government, whether it’s on energy policy, on welfare benefits policy, or on drug laws, far too often ignores the evidence. It’s this policy – and approach to policy-making - that should be culled, not the badgers.”