18 September 2013
Green Party voted overwhelmingly in favour of an immediate end to the badger cull pilots at last weekend's conference.
Animal spokesperson and vet Caroline Allen said 'these trials should have never gone ahead; the cull is unscientific, unethical and will cause great suffering.
One key aim of these pilots was supposed to be to assess the humaneness of free shooting and yet it is clear that the methods being used to assess humaneness are completely inadequate and unscientific.
The government's Chief Veterinary Officer has just admitted in response to questions from Humane Society International that 'there are no definitive criteria for determining humaneness' which undermines the whole project. It's a farcical situation.
Reports are suggesting the numbers of badgers is well below target, the government should just admit its error and cancel the pilots now'.
Caroline added 'we understand the devastating effects on farmers of this disease, which is why we are calling for the funds currently being wasted on this fiasco to be instead urgently invested to find a genuine solution'
The full text of the motion:
'The Green Party calls for an immediate end to the pilot badger culls.
The lack of scientific evidence that culling badgers will reduce the incidence
of bTB, the moral questions around killing large numbers of our indigenous
wildlife and the costs associated with a programme that even if 'successful'
will only reduce the incidence in cattle by 16%, are all reasons enough to
halt the killing. However it is also clear that the a key plank of the
culls, to assess whether free shooting is humane is deeply flawed. Defra
have failed to answer many serious question posed by vets and animal welfare groups about how humaneness will be assessed, about how animals that managed to escape back in to setts to die there will be accounted for and about the number of animals to be assessed and the expertise of the assessors.
The news that the noises of dying badgers will be compared to those of harpooned whales does not endear confidence in the process.
The Green Party calls for the money earmarked for culling to be transferred to funding research on badger and cattle vaccination, further studies of the genetics of bTB susceptibility. We also call for action at an EU level to ensure that there is no barrier to vaccination.