Dear Andrew Rosindell
I am writing to you to express my concerns over government plans to cull badgers.
The current plans to cull badgers seem to be scientifically unjustified, as trails (the Krebs trail for example) have shown their effectiveness for bTB control seems to be minimal and in some cases make the problem worse. Even when we take the optimistic figure of 30% given by the NFU that still leaves 70% left. It also ignores the effect on the surrounding areas when largely sedentary badgers then begin to move around, increase the rates of bTB. In the end culling will not solve the problem, will cost lots of money to carry out, mean 1000s of badgers are killed and in some areas increase the bill to the taxpayer in compensation payments when the bTB in cattle increases.
The causes of bTB are not fully understood. There is evidence pointing to better biosecurity will reduce bTB in cattle herds. There have been cases of farmers swapping ear tags of bTB infected prize cows with those of others, so their prize cow does not get killed, leaving it in the herd to pass on the disease to others. The fact the bTB test is not 100% accurate means inevitably bTB infected cows go undetected and get moved around, spreading the disease with them. Lets not forget that the b in bTB stands for bovine not badger, the cows are passing the bTB to the badgers in the first place.
Since the cull was announced many experts and scientist have voiced their concerns, and recently called the scheme ‘crazy’ (see here on BBC news website). The mass badger cull in Ireland has shown culling does not work.
In the end the scientists believe that that vaccination, for badger and cattle alike, is the only viable option, and the cull should be stopped. There is a ridiculous EU law that prevents out cattle form being vaccinated. If this would changed, it would surely at least reduce the problems that bTB causes. Why has the government not worked on this?
I have recently seen that the stop the badger cull petition reaching over 150,000 signatures has meant that the cull will be discussed in parliament. As my MP, I trust you will listen to the science on this issue and not let politics interfere with what needs to be done: stop this ‘crazy’ cull and instead push forward with a vaccination programme.