Team Badger Press release 28th August 2015 Release 14.00 UK time

Team Badger, the coalition of animal welfare charities united against the badger cull has today expressed its shock and disappointment that the government intend to continue the badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire whilst starting

culling

in Dorset.

Team Badger is appalled that the government plan to continue this senseless slaughter. They are acting against the evidence of scientists, the advice of veterinarians and the will of the British public.

The cull companies in Gloucestershire and Somerset failed to achieve the pre-determined licensing criteria in both previous years and the costs have escalated out of control. The average cost of a badger killed in 2014 was over £5000, more than double the cost of vaccinating the same animal, with many local groups are, in reality delivering badger vaccinations for much less.

Quotes from Team Badger coalition partners

Claire Bass, HSI/UK’s Executive Director, said: “It's deeply depressing that we're facing yet another year of massacring badgers in our countryside for no good reason at all. The last two years of badger culling have been condemned by experts as both inhumane and ineffective, and so the government's decision to continue with this failed policy is bewildering. It's bad enough that Ministers are ignoring the scientific consensus that killing badgers will not solve the problem of cattle TB and could, in fact, make it worse, but they're also ignoring the serious welfare concerns of the British Veterinary Association by continuing to allow free running badgers to be shot at night, vastly increasing the chances of devastating injuries and suffering. It’s high time the government listened to the science and ended this cruel, costly and calamitous badger cull for good.”

Paul Herring, Chief Operating Officer, Network for Animals. "The badger cull has been a devastating example of top-down government policy, imposed without proper acknowledgement of scientific reasoning, cost, or humaneness. In 2015, sources as senior as the UK's Chief Vet have questioned the

culls

continuation in one of the two counties targeted, and the general public remain as opposed to this needless and expensive killing as ever. It is time for the failing badger cull to end, and for the government to roll-out vaccinations to badgers living within Bovine TB hotspots."

Anne Brummer Chief Executive of the Save Me Trust said “The science categorically does not support widening the cull to new areas – Many areas within the government’s ‘high-risk zone’ for bovine TB, including Dorset, have seen a  statistically significant fall in bTB outbreaks over the two years. In Dorset, the number of bTB outbreaks has fallen from 36 to 20 during that time. In fact, across South West region there has been a year-on-year fall in the number of cattle slaughtered of approximately 16%, whilst Dorset has fallen 37% from 2012-2014. These reductions have occurred in the absence of badger culling across the vast majority of the region”.

Dr Toni Shephard, Head of Policy and Research at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: This is a death knell for more than 2000 more badgers, the overwhelming majority of which will not have bovine TB (bTB). It’s also a death knell for common sense, as all the current evidence heavily suggests that bTB is predominantly spread between cattle, not from badgers to cattle. This is a stubborn policy which will not help farmers, will cause unrest yet again in rural areas and will waste huge amounts of public money, for absolutely no good reason.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said “The Government’s decision and everything that has happened so far proves this is not a science-led policy, but politically motivated and designed to secure support from powerful lobbies like the National Farmers Union (NFU) and rural voters. IFAW encourages members of the public to support those helping badgers in the cull areas as they witness the reality of the slaughter and gather evidence which is vital for any assessment of its effectiveness or humaneness”

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer: “Animal Defenders International is appalled that the badger culls are to continue.  This killing of badgers ignores scientific evidence, decimates local wildlife populations, and is ineffective in controlling bovine tuberculosis. The badger culls are not working and it is time for the government to stop the slaughter, to listen to the experts and focus on vaccination and other humane control methods.”

Dr Iain McGill, Director of Vets and Vet Nurses Against the Badger Cull, said, “Many veterinary professionals do not support this cull. It is unscientific, ineffective and unethical. Senior colleagues involved in its promulgation have serious questions to answer. I reiterate my challenge to the Chief Veterinary Officer to face us in public debate and respond in full to our open letter raising 12 points of concern, or else face calls to resign.”

Pauline Kidner, Secret World Wildlife Rescue As a charity that has worked tirelessly for the welfare of badgers in a responsible and caring way, we are saddened to hear that the culls are to continue, and indeed to increase, when peer-reviewed science and eminent scientists quite clearly indicate that culling of badgers is inefficient, ineffective and inhumane.