From: Helpline, Defra \(CCU\) Date: 2/1/2014 9:06:48 PM To: Borg Drone
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The Defra pages on GOV.UK contain a lot of information about Defra’s work that may be of interest. Some of the popular pages are:
· Reducing bovine tuberculosis (including information about badger control)
This year will be pivotal for one of the most controversial policies involving animal welfare in recent times, when the government decides whether to proceed with extending the badger cull pilots, which began last summer in the areas of Gloucestershire and Somerset, to other parts of England.
The effectiveness of the trials is currently being assessed by an Independent Expert Panel, who are expected to report back to the Secretary of State in February. However, the current evidence suggests that both culls have been a catastrophic failure with neither of the pilots able to comply with the original licencing conditions from Natural England, which stated 70 per cent of badgers in each zone should be culled within a continuous period of six weeks.
The Badger Cull in 2014
The official figures from Defra show that only 58 per cent of the badger population were killed in Somerset and 42 per cent in Gloucestershire. Even with extensions of 9 weeks in Somerset and 11 weeks in Gloucestershire, marksmen could not kill the required number and the Gloucestershire extension was abandoned when it became clear they could not meet their target. It is bad enough that these badgers were killed needlessly, but evidence suggest that culling could make the spread of bovine TB (bTB) even worse due to perturbation as infected animals flee to areas outside of the cull zones, spreading the disease.
Despite the growing discontent in Westminster, highlighted by the recent Westminster Hall debate led by Chris Williamson, Defra has indicated the culls may be expanded to areas designated as ‘high risk’ or ‘edge area’ for bTB as part of its strategy for achieving bTB-Free Status over the next 25 years and could involve creating ten new cull zones in England during 2014.
Badger Cull Debate
Chris Williamson MP, spoke in favour of vaccination, improved bio-security and cattle movement restrictions, he said: “The cull has been a dismal and expensive failure. The Government has disregarded public opinion and science. It is cruel and inhumane and has made matters worse.
Future of the badger cull in England
We the Undersigned urge you to take Chris Williamson MP very seriously & seek plans to immunise instead of Cull these animals, who have every right to live as natural roaming wildlife. We thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.