I like badgers. There are lots around the area where I live and I often see them. One has a route through my back garden and I’ve even tripped over one in the dark on my way back from the pub. I know they are an important part of the ecosystem but that’s not why I like them. They are fascinating creatures with strong family bonds and they are a quintessential part of the country.
Much as I’m fond of them, I could support a cull to protect other livestock if there was clear, unambiguous evidence to support it. But there isn’t. Not even DEFRA’s experts go that far and many scientists take the opposite view.
My objections go further. The current cull is supposed to be a trial to judge it’s effectiveness. Sounds fair enough. However, the hapless Minister (Paterson) admitted on Channel 4 news last night that there were no plans to collect data to be used in evaluating the “trial”. Now that doesn’t seem to be a controlled experiment to me. It sounds more like “fob the plebs off with a promise of a trial before pressing on with the slaughter”.
The word cull is traditionally used to describe the removal of diseased and overly-weak members of a herd. The result being the herd gets stronger and the culled ones don’t die a lingering death. This is not the case in the badger cull. Its impossible to identify a TB-infected animal from a healthy one by just looking at it so many healthy badgers will be shot. I gather the aim is to shoot about 80% of the badgers in the trial area.
So, no indisputable evidence to support the cull coupled with no valid methodology to evaluate its effectiveness added to the wholesale slaughter of healthy animals with no account of the local ecosystem does not make a trial cull. It makes genocide.