14 October 2012

Stop the UK Badger Cull: Letter to My MP

I had been vaguely aware that the proposed cull of badgers in the UK was controversial, but had not fully realised that the evidence against it was so overwhelming.  That was confirmed by this letter in the Observer today, with some of the top scientists in the country coming out against it, and this short video, which usefully explains the issues and why the cull will make things worse.

As a result, I have been moved to send a missive to my MP, using the wonderful WriteToThem service.  Here's what I've written:

I am writing to you to express my deep concern over government plans to cull badgers.

As a Londoner, this is not a topic I normally concern myself with. I naturally have no objection to farmers seeking to minimise losses to their herds from serious diseases such as TB. However, as the letter in today's Observer (at http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2012/oct/14/letters-observer) from 30 leading professors with expertise in this area points out, a badger cull is likely to make the situation worse, not better.

The reasons why are well explained in this video (http://justdosomething.org.uk/badgersmatter), which includes a contribution from Sir David Attenborough among others: shooting badgers will lead to a dispersion of them from their current locations. If any of them are infected with TB, they will carry that with them to new areas. A far better solution would seem to be the use of vaccination of badgers against TB, something that is apparently already efficacious, but which could benefit from funding to refine.

Given the overwhelming – indeed, near-unanimous – view that the badger cull will not only fail to achieve its goals, but will actually exacerbate the situation, I am disturbed that the Government is nonetheless planning to proceed with it. It is crucially important that policy be evidence-based, not the result of pandering to groups that have apparently taken an unscientific view for reasons best known to themselves. I would be grateful if you could convey my concerns to the relevant minister, along with a request that the cull be suspended and more efficient and humane methods deployed instead.

Thank you for your help.
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