Network for Animals, a member of the Team Badger coalition of animal welfare groups formed to tackle the English badger cull, is joining calls for supporters to write to their MP and encourage them to ask for a debate on the issue.
Despite widespread opposition and no scientific basis, the Coalition Government has decided to conduct a pilot cull of badgers in two parts of England in a misguided attempt to solve the bovine TB crisis. The first license to cull has already been granted in Gloucestershire, but there is still a chance to stop the cull from commencing if MPs secure a debate in the chamber on this issue.
For this to work, urgent action is required.
A petition on the Government website has already secured over 145,000 signatures and is still rising. Any petition over 100,000 is referred to a parliamentary committee who will decide whether this issue will be debated in parliament. Network for Animals wants to see this debate happen so that the flawed science and dubious claims for success are publicly scrutinised.
The Coalition's policy of culling badgers flies in the face of the conclusions of the ISG trial, which came at a cost of nearly £50million to the taxpayer and was led by one of the UK's leading zoologists, Lord Krebs. The trial concluded that culling badgers would not make a meaningful contribution to the control of TB in cattle. In fact, it could make it worse.
We believe that England should follow Wales and pursue vaccination as the solution to this problem. Improved cattle welfare, effective biosecurity and the lifting of a ban on the vaccination of cattle will provide the most effective and sustainable benefits to farmers, with badger vaccination offering an immediate action that can be undertaken to tackle TB.
There is a huge groundswell of opposition to these plans, with two local authorities in the Gloucestershire cull zone recently voting against the cull in council meetings. Leading animal welfare organisations, celebrities, scientists and the general public have all spoken out on this issue.
Please write to your MP now asking for them to confirm their position on the cull and whether they will commit to attending a debate on this issue. If you have already written to your MP, please visit our campaign site and write to the new Secretary of State for Defra, Owen Paterson.