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Charity's 'graphic example' in protest against badger cull

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: September 28, 2012

The Badger Trust has released this photo of a badger which was shot dead in Derbyshire

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A badger protection charity has released a photo of an animal that was shot dead and found beside a public footpath.

The Badger Trust says it is releasing the image as "a graphic example" of what will happen to the animals during the pilot culls taking place in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

The Trust is stepping up its campaign against the cull, which it describes in a statement as a "misguided attempt to control bovine tuberculosis".

"The Badger Trust has always feared that official culling would be taken as a licence for anyone to kill badgers illegally," it said after releasing the photo of the dead badger, which was found in Derbyshire.

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"There was an entry hole on one side and a vet found an exit wound on the other just where it would be under Natural England’s guidance to shooters for the forthcoming round of killing.

"Mrs Brierton (who found the badger) saw fresh tyre tracks typical of those left by 'lampers' illegally hunting badgers with high powered spotlights and rifles.

"This badger had clearly been the victim of a criminal act. Derbyshire police are looking into the incident and ask the public to report anyone acting suspiciously."

Small pilot culls have been authorised in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire by Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, David Heath.

The Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome explained why he authorised the cull in this week's Western Gazette column.

"I don’t know anyone who relishes the idea of killing that most popular species the badger, despite their decidedly adverse effect on other creatures such as the hedgehog and ground nesting birds," he wrote.

"If there was a satisfactory alternative to the small pilot culls which I have now authorised, then believe me I would have taken it, and I still would. But all the advice I have seen says that is not the case."

"The easy cry of course is to use vaccination," he continued. "As if we wouldn’t if it was that easy.

"The vaccine we have for badgers requires each animal to be trapped and injected, and has to be done on a yearly basis. It is not practicable, and it is vastly expensive.

"An oral vaccine, one which could be used in bait, would be much better. But we haven’t got one yet.

"Nor do we have an effective vaccine for cattle where we can distinguish between an infected animal and a diseased animal, and there is not the slightest chance of lifting EU bans on the sale of meat or milk from those animals until we can demonstrate that is the case."

In Somerset, Secret World Wildlife Rescue in Highbridge has produced a protocol to advise anyone finding dead or injured badgers in the killing areas.

It covers the effects of rifle shots and describes signs that would show if they had not been killed as cleanly as Natural England stipulates.

"It would be particularly important to report any badgers that had survived rifle shots because they should be counted under the regulations and properly disposed of," the Badger Trust statement said.

"The Secret World protocol covers gathering essential clinical data on the spot and the need for photographs, working with vets, the value of x-rays and freezing carcases.

"Examination forms are provided, with information about where to send them.

"Any stored frozen badgers will be collected at a later date and full post-mortem examinations carried out as necessary, in a safe environment, using standardised procedures."

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  • acorncs  |  October 06 2012, 9:13AM

    its just a badger!!!!! its not graphic! its just a dead badger

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  • dodgethebulle  |  October 01 2012, 11:53AM

    Badger cull in the interests of no one. Once again a British government has chosen to seek the best possible scientific advice and then ignore it! The licensed killing of badgers in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset could achieve a number of things. It could further advertise the unwelcome existence of bovine tuberculosis in British dairy herds. It could polarise opinion in the countryside and unite political opposition everywhere else. It could cost the farmers involved more than they could gain. It will almost certainly provoke active protest and put even more pressure on already hard-pressed police forces. What it will almost certainly not do is limit bovine tuberculosis, even in the target zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset. It might be helpful to list those things that are certain. Human tuberculosis is a dangerous disease. Bovine tuberculosis is a real problem for dairy farmers – who in any case have been paid too little for their milk and who have been going out of business for decades – and the disease lives on in the wild badger population. But by 1996, a policy of identification and slaughter had reduced the incidence of bovine TB in dairy herds in England and Wales to less than half a per cent, and the risk of direct transmission to humans has – with the pasteurisation of milk – long ago become negligible. The last and most systematic examination of the link between badgers and bovine TB found that, indeed, there was transmission, and proposed a series of systematic, randomised controlled trials over a sustained period to see whether culling could provide an answer. In 2003, the government, farmers, public health officers and wildlife campaigners got the answer: shooting and gassing did not eliminate, and could possibly spread, the disease. That may be because badgers disturbed in one area could migrate, taking the infection with them. The answer, delivered by Lord Krebs and the distinguished statisticians and zoologists who examined the results, could hardly be clearer: killing will not solve the problem. Lord Krebs's scientific credentials are not in doubt. He was trusted by successive British governments to head the Natural Environment Research Council, and to chair the Food Standards Agency. And he has just described the latest plan as a "crazy scheme". http://tinyurl.com/bvjp9rv

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