A hugely expensive failure.

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Environmental
Tags: , , ,

I’ve avoided any direct comment on the badger cull so far but I just can’t hold back any longer. The war of words with claims and counter claims between the sides has been going on for some time now since Natural England revoked the license in Gloucestershire due to insufficient numbers of badgers killed. We were told by the Government minister (yes it’s that Owen Patterson again) that an independent panel would gather all the information from the cull and then reside over the humanness, efficiency and effectiveness of the killing policy although only for the orignal 6 week period and not the ill advised extensions. Now the Government has always claimed the policy was based on science and yet no independent scientist would back what the Government was telling us, far from it in fact. The trials conducted by the previous Labour government (The Krebs trial) concluded that culling could make no meaningful contribution to the reduction of Bovine TB in cattle and in some cases actually make the situation worse. Still it pushed ahead in spite of all the highly respected opposition.

The latest development came from animal charity Care for the Wild with an estimated cost of well over £7 million. The figures bear up to close scrutiny and now the policing costs have been released it’s fairly clear they’re accurate. Total police costs of almost £2.5 million are double what had been estimated. Defra of course are claiming these figures are misleading blaming wide scale criminality and intimidation from the protestors.

Quite frankly that’s a load of shite.

I spent many days and nights in the cull zone and from what I personally experienced or heard from reliable witnesses the only type of behaviour fitting that description came from the cull operatives and their supporters. I’ve been targeted with IR illuminators, had explosive devices detonated close by, been intimidated (well they tried to anyway) and verbally abused by farmers, know people who’ve been driven at with a real risk of serious injury, threatened with violence and had property damaged. It got quite nasty at times out there and the Police by and large did nothing except stop and search anyone they didn’t like the look of.

When you consider the price for the killing of each badger comes in at £4100 you begin to wonder what the point of it all was. The cost to vaccinate is miniscule by comparison. The policing costs in Gloucestershire alone exceeded £1.7 million which is half a million more than the total cost of the Welsh Government badger vaccination programme . When you consider the complete and utter failure on all counts you start to ask yourself if the control of Bovine TB really is the reason behind all this. I have a horrible feeling this is the NFU, in collaboration with the Countryside Alliance and the Tory elite who want to repeal the hunting act trying to regain control of the countryside in some manner. Half the land involved in the cull in Gloucestershire didn’t even have cattle on it, but was in fact owned by large shooting estates and filled with Pheasants. Badger setts are protected by law, I wonder how many land owners/game keepers/farmers wanted to do something else with that land but were unable to due to a badger sett.

Makes you wonder . . .

Additional

It has to be noted that although it was said that none of the badgers killed would be tested for TB (Owen Patterson claimed in the Commons they were all very sick when shot) a source within Defra has confirmed that a number were.

No infection was found in any of the badgers.

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