GLOUCESTER NEWS CENTRE
15 September 2014
Queen guitarist and animal campaigner Brian May and the Save Me Trust will be heading to the Gloucester and Somerset cull zones at the start of this week.
May will visit the Gloucester cull zone today, arriving in Newent mid afternoon, and then be in Somerset the following day, Tuesday September 16, to visit Camp Badger. The visits are being made to again show May and the Save Me Trust’s support for the wounded badger patrols operating in these two areas.
A statement issued by May and the Save Me Trust ahead of their visit says
: “We rescue and rehabilitate wildlife at our head quarters in Surrey and know only too well of the pain badgers can suffer at the hand of humans.
“It is fantastic that these people are out at night to patrol and take care of any wounded badgers. Badgers are very intelligent with the same emotional level and pain capacity as our very own pet dogs. Many of the wounded will be cubs just a few months old and we wanted to say thank you to these amazing people who are protecting them.
“We spent some time down there last year to meet the night walkers who give up their sleep, work and time to care for our wildlife. Their dedication is inspiring.
“We do not support the cull and are advocating vaccination, but we aren’t just talking about it we are actively doing something about it. It is a realistic approach that is both affordable and achievable. Following this policy, the cull zone cost would have been one tenth of its present level and would actually stand a chance of making the badger population TB free. However unless the farm that holds the infection and the cattle therein are tested and treated the whole cycle will start again. With 95% of the transmission carried between cattle to cattle, we would have to be mad to ignore it. We must not forget that during the badger cull years of 1999 – 2009, one zone in Cornwall saw bTB rise from 0.5% of the population to 10%, showing clearly that culling does not help reduce bTB in cattle and actually increases the bTB burden in badgers.
“It seems the public are with us, as this rates as the fifth most important issue on a MORI poll of MPs.
“Vaccination is used as an obvious control throughout the world and certainly among farming communities where livestock is routinely vaccinated within the first few months of its life.
“In Europe, rabies was never controlled by culling. It only halted when vaccination was used on a large scale. In the UK, the badger cull is ill advised by all peer reviewed science. The government’s own scientific research shows that it will not help control the spread of bovine TB in cattle.
“Badgers uniquely live in small but very defined territories making them easy and obvious to vaccinate.
“We are supporting the Badger and Cattle vaccination Initiative www.BACVI.co.uk as the only viable and feasible option and a viable alternative to culling and have already started vaccinating in three areas of the UK.
“The cost of cage trapping and free shooting is astronomical. It is estimated at £20 million for last year’s cull and the damning report received from the government Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has determined that the cull is unsafe, inhumane, ineffective and now financially unviable.
“We will be meeting the night walkers on Monday and Tuesday to support and thank their brave patrols.
“Brian has just come back from a hugely successful world tour as Queen and is now keen to revisit the cull zones supporting UK wildlife against this policy that defies science.”
Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS), a member of the Team Badger coalition, said “We are delighted to welcome Brian May back to support us on patrol in the cull zone. Ultimately whatever our efforts in the media and in the courts, it all comes down to boots on the ground. That’s why we and all the other groups and individuals involved are out every night, saving every badger we can from this pointless, irrational slaughter.”