Badger cull is to start tomorrow night

Here in Britain some cattle (Bos primigenius) get bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and we want rid. Wild badgers (Meles meles) can get bTB too. Some people think badgers spread the infection (Mycobacterium bovis) to cattle. Others think that we shouldn’t obsess about badgers because the real problem is cattle being moved around the country too much, giving bTB to each other.

You might choose to follow my tags ‘tuberculosis’ and ‘badger’ for other posts on this. I wrote that a cull of badgers had been long delayed but hadn’t started yet.

The August Bank Holiday weekend is one time to start. Nothing to do with people being away on holiday, enjoying beaches and barbecues, of course.

Damian Carrington at the Guardian tells us that the guns will be out tomorrow night. That’s 26th August 2013. ‘The start of the badger cull, postponed from 2012, is expected to result in the largest animal rights protests since the ban on hunting foxes with dogs and to see many people protest in the cull zones… The police have previously warned of the “clear potential for harm to public safety” but the location and timing of the culls has been kept secret.’

Mr Carrington’s mistaken about how long the cull has been delayed. Some people have been trying to start shooting badgers since 2010, if not earlier. Other people have been thwarting those attempts. That’s why the police think that things may be going to get nasty tomorrow night.

I think the potential for harm to badgers is pretty clear too. As a spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said on telly tonight, bTB is nasty for badgers but nobody claims that the cull is about badger welfare. It’s about killing badgers and, supposedly, about saving cattle.

As you know, I agree with scientists such as those who Mr Carringon quotes. ‘[E]vidence suggests that badger culling is not an effective solution [to bTB].’

I’m grateful to my fellow blogger Henricus Peters at Learn from Nature for drawing attention to this news about the badger cull.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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1 Response to Badger cull is to start tomorrow night

  1. Pingback: Badgers still aren’t being shot | Science on the Land

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