Labour Launches Campaign Against Badger Cull

UK - Labour has launched a new campaign to persuade the Tory-led Government to drop its plans for a badger cull.
calendar icon 22 August 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Mary Creagh MP, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary, has written to over 25,000 supporters from previous countryside and animal welfare campaigns asking them to lobby their MPs about the issue. The Party has also launched a new website where people can register their support.

The campaign aims to demonstrate the huge opposition to the Tory-led Government's plans to allow farmers to shoot badgers as part of measures to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle. The Government’s consultation on a proposed cull revealed 69 per cent of respondents objected to it.

The Government’s plans have been criticised by leading scientists as an untested solution to the problem, which may increase the problem as badgers wander further afield once shooting begins. The Government’s own impact assessment states that the "costs exceed expected monetised benefits" for farmers involved.

In Government, Labour conducted a 10-year study into managing bovine TB to establish whether badger culling would protect cattle and reduce the transmission of the disease. The scientists who led this inquiry concluded that "badger culling is unlikely to contribute effectively to the control of cattle TB in Britain".

Mary Creagh said: “Bovine TB is a terrible disease but the Government’s plans to cull badgers are bad for farmers, bad for badgers and bad for the taxpayer. We need a science-led policy to manage cattle movements and develop a vaccine to tackle TB in badgers and cattle. Instead, the Tory-led Government has reduced the number of vaccine trials Labour commissioned to just one."

“Opposition to the plans is growing and I hope people will now sign up to to campaign for a science-based approach to tackling Bovine TB.”

Commenting on labours announcement, National Farmers Union (NFU) Director of Policy, Martin Haworth said: “We are surprised and disappointed that the Labour Party has launched this campaign on the grounds that the decisions made so far have not been based on science."

"This decision was approved by both the Chief Scientist at Defra and the Chief Veterinary Officer for England. The previous government presided over a huge increase in bovine TB. How can it now claim to have a better alternative?"

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