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In its evidence to the Government?s Consultation on Addressing TB and Culling Badgers, the National Gamekeepers? Organisation (NGO) has suggested that some among the keepering community would be willing to help on a voluntary basis with a strategic cull for the sake of both the farming community and the welfare of the badger population.

Its submission states: We recommend that the public may have more sympathy with the concept of badger culling if made aware of the horrendous suffering of badgers in the wild when affected by this disease, often lasting for many months or even years.

The submission goes on to highlight the risk of attacks on those who wish to help to eradicate TB from wildlife. It refers to a concern, already circulating in the gamekeeping world, that anyone who gets involved in extensive, high-profile badger culling might be targeted by animal rights activists.

It suggests that more conspicuous control methods such as trapping and shooting are a potential magnet for animal rights activists as well as being impratical if a widespread containment of bovine TB is to be achieved. For these reasons, the NGO asks DEFRA to consider controlling badgers at the sett: We think culling within the badger setts needs to be looked at again, as it has many advantages if it can be done humanely.

The rest of this article appears in 22nd December issue of Shooting Times.

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  • Paul Kite

    Extracted from the article Saturday 25th December 2010 quoted by Joe Dimbleby “NGO Argues for a Cull on Welfare Grounds”:
    “We recommend that the public may have more sympathy with the concept of badger culling if made aware of the horrendous suffering of badgers in the wild when affected by this disease, often lasting for many months or even years”.
    Can you please tell me what evidence there is for such a statement, you must have a source? How can you tell if a badger has Bovine TB? If you know, then please tell Defra Scientists, as they cannot tell just by looking and generally by post mortem. It may save us all a from whole lot of agony.
    The following statement contains a great big IF:
    “We think culling within the badger setts needs to be looked at again, as it has many advantages IF it can be done humanely”.
    “Within the sett” probably means digging out and shooting, something that a certain section of the community craves to do with their terriers and is never done “humanely”. It is a criminal offence under the Badger Act 1992 punishable with a prison sentence. This element of society nobody wants in the country side. Please don’t go down that route.

  • Jess

    Two points.

    1) As far as the scientific community is aware, following alot more study than the NGO have done, badgers very rarely suffer from carrying bovine tb. It’s a host dependent disease, in that only animals in poor health already (or cattle with depressed immune systems) will develop serious symptoms. Few badgers die from TB, the vast majority die through other causes. This is a falsehood spread buy the NFU, and no-one in the scientific community genuinely believes it.

    2) Just how exactly do you humanely kill badgers in a sett? Gassing? Explosion? And how then can you be sure to reach enough of the tunnel system for death to be instantaneous to all badgers without any suffering. You can’t, hence why it was abandoned. Oh and the fact that culling badgers actually spreads tb….

  • Nigel and Patricia Hall

    The majority of the general public oppose the Tories proposed cull and an independent scientific group (costing the UK tax payer over £50m) has already concluded that culling badgers has no significant effect on the spread of bTB and can make matters worse. Shooting free-running badgers is a proposterous idea as a clean, humane kill could never be guaranteed. Vaccination is the way forward. Culling badgers will always be publically unacceptable.

  • Graham

    Horrendous suffering of badgers suffering from bovine tb??
    Any game keeper who believes that should be sacked for his lack of knowledge of wildlife.
    It is well established that many badgers carry TB without suffering at all. How can it be claimed that killing more than 70% of a local population is good for the badgers when it is proven that even in hot spots the percentage of badgers with TB is very low.
    It is often implied to the general public that only the sick badgers will be killed and the point is hammered home that farmers somehow magically recognise an infected badger or sett. The truth is that the world’s experts cannot recognise TB in badgers except by autopsy.
    As for gamekeepers volunteering to do the shooting, is this a good way to guarantee a four year commitment until more than 70% of badgers in an area are killed?
    Gamekeepers are already killing badgers illegally and see this as an excuse to coutinue unchallenged.