The Government is all set for open season on badgers.
The excuse for this half-cocked policy of shooting badgers is a belief that this will decrease the amount of TB in cattle.
And that is what it is: a belief. No independent science on the issue supports this.
After the slaughter of thousands of badgers, over nine years, science reveals it will possibly result in a 12-15% reduction of TB in cattle – or possibly not.
And that is the justification for this barmy badger policy.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs itself has detailed the suffering which will result from badgers who are not cleanly killed, but appears to consider this acceptable.
Think instead about the way cattle are intensely housed and transported over the countryside, carrying any contagious illnesses over great distances. Such disease can be carried on the boots and lorries of the farmers and transporters who deal with them.
More harm is done to the consumers of cattle through a build-up of antibiotics and hormones in the meat.
Once again, this Government is not listening to the right people.
J Hinman, Normandy Road, Worthing
I am horrified that thousands of badgers are due to be killed in two areas of England this summer.
It is a needless massacre driven by farmers and politicians.
Persecuting badgers for spreading bovine TB makes as much sense as persecuting black cats for spreading bad luck and witchcraft. It is time the badger stopped being a scapegoat for the failings of farming.
The consensus of the Independent Scientific Group into cattle TB is that “badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the control of bovine TB in Britain”.
Cases have sometimes increased but the fact remains that the finger of blame for this crisis has to point back at the farming community and bad political decisions. They can attempt to demonise English wildlife all they want, but the intensification of farming practices and increases in cattle movement are the real reasons for the spread of this disease.
Around 14 million cattle are moved across the UK each year – this number has quadrupled since 1999. Dairy herd sizes have more than doubled since the 1970s – when bovine TB was at its lowest.
There is a direct correlation between larger herd sizes and the spread of disease.
The rush to intensify animal agriculture has led to this disastrous situation. Dairy cows suffer the dual burden of pregnancy and lactation during much of their lives. Their immune systems are shot to pieces and they are physically exhausted and killed at a fraction of their natural lifespan.
Add to this unreliable bovine TB testing that is inaccurate in one-third of cases and you start to see the real causes of the problem.
My disgust that English badgers are still under threat is so profound that I am boycotting all English dairy products, and I would encourage all those with a love of our indigenous wildlife to do the same.
Perhaps a drop in profits will bring the industry and our politicians to their senses.
For more information, visit www.viva.org.uk/badgers.
Jane Funnell, Millfield, Sompting