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Big Issue: Baroness Jan Royall of Blaisdon on the badger cull

By The Citizen  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

concerns: Bill Oddie, and MPs Mary Creagh and Andrew Miller, in London.

Comments (0)

AS a proud member of the Forest of Dean community, a tax payer, and someone who lives in the country and is both concerned about the problems of dairy farmers including the prevalence of TB and about our wildlife, I am angry at the Government's decision to begin the pilot to cull badgers in West Gloucestershire.

TB is a terrible disease which results in the slaughter of cows and has a serious impact on a farm's profitability and viability.

It must be dealt with, but why don't Ministers follow the scientific advice rather than embarking on an ineffective, costly cull that will decimate our badger population?

The cull has no sound scientific, economic or moral basis. Leading scientists and experts are against it, many farmers are against it, and international conservation organisations are against it. As also is my party, which commissioned the largest scientific project into the effects: the Randomised Badger Culling Trial.

So why is the Government pressing ahead with the free shooting of moving badgers – something that has never been trialled? Killing badgers has no proven lasting effect on the eradication of TB.

A cull could lead to the spread of the disease as badgers flee the cull zones into surrounding farmland.

In response to a Parliamentary Question from my friend and colleague, Mary Creagh MP, DEFRA conceded that at least 50 per cent of cattle herd breakdowns are caused by cattle to cattle contact.

We are told that approval for a vaccine for cattle is imminent but we know that there is a problem in relation to the European Union.

I am a firm supporter of the EU but I recognise that it needs real reform and that some of its policies need challenging. This is one of them.

The Government should be in Brussels arguing for the vaccination of cattle, not slaughtering badgers.

There is also vaccine for badgers which is being used in Gloucestershire and which seems to be effective, although it can only be part of the solution.

Last Friday evening I attended an excellent, packed meeting in the Forest of Dean organised by Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS).

One of the speakers had spent his life as a livestock manager and he spoke of the need for biosecurity and improved animal husbandry. It made sense. Why aren't Ministers listening to him along with scientists like Lord Krebs, one of the Government's most respected advisers?

We are told that this is just a pilot and that more scientific work is being done. The pilot will be deemed to be a success if more than 70 per cent of badgers in the area are eradicated. But who can say how many badgers there are in an area and how will DEFRA know when 70 per cent have been killed?

For most people who live in the Forest, this is not just a pilot.

It will decimate our badger population, it will be costly, and it will be potentially dangerous to citizens walking in or around the Forest at night. Most importantly, it will not provide a much needed solution to the problem of TB which leads to the slaughter of cows and penury for farmers.

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  • Raccoon  |  September 26 2012, 3:31PM

    You haven't helped me at all, so of course you can't help me further. There is simply no verifiable information about this 'private' badger vaccination trial. Why would anyone keep such information secret? It could be publicised by the scientists who are carrying out the trial, without compromising the trial itself or divulging whereabouts it is being carried out.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 24 2012, 5:38PM

    Raccoon...that is of course your perogative but unfortunately I can't help you any further on said information. I am sure the information will be available in due course, when the full study has finished, which at my last count still had about 3 years to go. I am sure there might be other trials ongoing that might be more free with their information. ps the trials are actually being carried out on somebody's land who doesn't want to cull by shooting. However they are very upset by the outcome so far. :(

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  • Raccoon  |  September 24 2012, 5:18PM

    Then I simply don't believe you. You have to substantiate your claims with some sort of evidence that can be looked at by others.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 22 2012, 3:34PM

    Private trials are exactly that, private. As they are currently ongoing and will be for at least another three years you just aren't going to get any more information. ...and my wording "double dose" wording was perhaps a bit over-the-top but trying to explain anything to half of the people against the cull is like trying to explain how to open a packet of sweets. (and in case even that is misread, I actually mean that the simplest of explanations to anything regarding badgers seems beyond many people).

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  • Raccoon  |  September 22 2012, 3:23PM

    2ladybugs, your last post is nonsense. If you vaccinate a badger that already has bTB, you are not giving it a double dose of the disease. The vaccine is not capable of transmitting TB in any form. Also, where is your evidence about a 'private trial' of badger vaccination?

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 22 2012, 11:54AM

    What are you prattling about now Gagas. Are you Gagas by name and Gagas by nature. You are obviously not a vet, or doctor. When you vaccinate an animal or human being with a vaccine you are in effect 'giving' that person or animal a mild form of whatever disease you are vaccinating against. This mild form then gives an immunity against the disease. Therefore if you vaccinate a badger who already has the disease you are in effect giving them a double dose of the disease which won't cure it but will "exacerbate" the problem and make the disease even worse . Animals from a private trial of vaccinating badgers found that animals that had the disease and were then given vaccine when cut open (they had to be put down as they were writhing in agony) their vital organs,lungs, liver, kidneys etc all had lesions i.e abcess like growths filled wih pus.

  • LordGagas  |  September 22 2012, 11:32AM

    And Countrylad, you are a bit of a "thrower up into the air" as well

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  • LordGagas  |  September 22 2012, 11:29AM

    ladybug Not only that but by vaccinating badgers that already have TB you are exacerbating their problems another stupid comment from the woman. she has obviously not heard of marking animals!

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  • LordGagas  |  September 22 2012, 11:25AM

    yep my comment was removed, so much for free speech eh, ladybug

  • Countrylad  |  September 21 2012, 7:27PM

    "Still watching listening and reading, The whole issue about the Badger Cull has gone past the stage of the Badger, Mr Badger is now being used as a weapon by the Animal Rights Lobby to show how THEY feel about Farming. Its Farming in general they are against, the Badger Cull is giving them a platform to say how they feel. Today I have heard how Farmers Kill young cattle, Claim false subsidy's, These comments have nothing to do with the Badger Cull. What I dont hear is how awful that Farmers have to kill animals because they are TB Reactors, But then we dont see Cows as Fluffy little animals as shown in Books and Films, Wind in the Willows has a lot to answer for. When they cannot discuss things sensibly and give alternatives that would work they resort to insults, which shows lack of knowledge. After watching Breakfast TV and hearing Brian Mays comment, it goes to show that he lack the basic knowledge, I have yet to see a Cuddly Badger other than in a toy shop, Then we have those that have openly said they will break the law to stop the cull, Planning and plotting to stop those taking part, I feel very sorry for those who believe the propaganda that is all over the Internet, They must be really confused as too what is correct. For every genuine person out there, there are a dozen or more Animal Rights extremists out to cause trouble,"

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