Greens – scrap badger culling now

1 March 2014

FOLLOWING reports that the Independent Expert Panel on badger culls has concluded that they were ineffective and inhumane, an emergency motion being submitted for debate at the Green Party conference tomorrow calls on the Government to announce an end to its culling policy.

The motion, from the Party’s animal spokesperson Caroline Allen, calls on DEFRA to take immediate steps to adopt evidence-based strategies to tackle bovine TB, such as vaccination and improved biosecurity.

The Green Party has always opposed the badger cull, pointing out that all the available evidence showed it was unscientific, inhumane and likely to make the problem of bovine TB worse.  Vets, including Caroline Allen, raised concerns about the way humaneness was monitored that meant badgers who were injured and returned to their setts may not have been accounted for in these figures.  

The Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas has repeatedly raised the issue in Parliament.   She has asked several parliamentary questions, one of which resulted in an admission from DEFRA that the Panel be restricted to the first six weeks of the cull, even though the cull period was extended to nine weeks in Somerset, and 11 weeks in Gloucestershire.

Caroline Allen, Green Party spokesperson on animals, said:

"Results from the Independent Expert Panel confirming the cull was inhumane and ineffective are no surprise.

“It’s extremely sad that badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset had to suffer unnecessarily because Defra and Owen Paterson refused to listen to experts and resolved to plough on, wasting millions of pounds on an ideological crusade against our indigenous wildlife.  A chorus of independent scientists warned the government that these trials were doomed to failure but Owen Paterson was too concerned with driving the cull through his imaginary goalposts to listen.

“It is likely that the suffering inflicted during the cull was worse than has been reported.  The failure to kill the allotted number of badgers, with less than half the required numbers being killed in the initial six week period means the risk of pertubation is increased, meaning this cull may even make the disease problem worse."

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:

“It’s time for the Government to end is cruel, inhumane and wasteful culling policies.

“There needs to be investment in evidence-based strategies to tackle bovine TB – including vaccination and improved biosecurity. But instead of exploring these alternatives, and finding humane and effective solutions, millions of pounds have been wasted and we are no further forward in helping farmers.”

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