Here in Britain, the sun has just come up on the 28th of August. Did guns get started on the badgers (Meles meles) last night? It’s not on the mainstream news yet. As you know, last night was yet another date announced as the first night of the badger cull.
While seeking news I found BadgerGate where anti-cull opinions are written. It’s worth reading.
Here’s an article on BadgerGate by Mark Jones, Executive Director of the UK branch of the Humane Society International (HSI). Mr Jones is a vet. On BadgerGate, he says that some of what’s been said about the badger cull makes him feel ‘ashamed to be a member of the profession [he] studied so hard to join.’
Here’s his voice again in an HSI/UK press release. ‘We are appalled to learn that the mass shooting of badgers has begun in our countryside. This is a dark day for Britain as science and ethics have been sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. Thousands of innocent badgers will now suffer and die in a completely unjustified slaughter that will at best have a marginal impact on TB in cattle [that’s bovine tuberculosis, bTB] and could very well make the problem worse. This cull isn’t just about badgers, it’s about the disgraceful way in which our government has cast aside scientific rigour, moral accountability and democracy to pacify those who would rather shoot wildlife than modernise the cattle industry.’
Talking of modernising the industry, here’s another article on BadgerGate. This one’s by Dave and Gill Purser who farm cattle in Gloucestershire. As they say, Gloucestershire is a ‘TB hot-spot’. They call for a change in ‘outdated’ bTB vaccination policies which make bTB a problem for farmers.
I haven’t found any statement of the cull’s aim. In science, it’s usual to state the aim of what you do. Shooting badgers to control bTB is contrary to scientific advice. Its aim seems to be political – winning votes from members of the National Farmers Union (NFU). Another thing I didn’t find was any explanation of why the West Country has more bTB than other parts of the British Isles.
Oh well. I’m still waiting for the news reports about what happened last night. We heard announcements that shooting was ‘underway’ but nobody has yet appeared for a photo opportunity. I won’t be surprised if somebody poses with gun on shoulder, foot on dead badger, or something like that.