9 September 2014
Dr Brian May
Queen guitarist Dr Brian May has said the second badger cull in Gloucestershire is a “disgrace” that will rebound on the Government at election time.
The first badgers of the 2014 cull were shot last night in Somerset and Gloucestershire as the six week programme to reduce numbers in an effort to bring bovine TB under control got under way.
Dr May, from the Save Me Trust, said
It’s almost beyond belief that the Government is blundering ahead with a second year of inept and barbaric badger killing. TB in cattle in England is currently at it lowest level in 10 years, the drop being predictably the result of improved husbandry in cattle. So this is a most inappropriate moment for [Prime Minister David] Cameron to be wasting tax payers’ money persecuting our wildlife against the advice of every independent scientist in the field; even the Government’s own expert panel has branded the cull as ineffective and inhumane.
Current revelations from a whistle blower damn the process even more – making it clear that the numbers the present shooters are working towards are completely unreliable. This cull is a failure and a disgrace – no more than the fulfilment of a dirty promise – which will rebound on this Government at election time.
Campaigners against the cull launched their evening Wounded Badger Patrols in anticipation for the start of the shooting last night. Dozens of patrollers from across the country signed up to join the nightly walk last night.
Culling is allowed for a maximum of six weeks between June 1 and January 31.
Targets have been set for the number of badgers to be shot with a minimum of 615 in Gloucestershire and 316 in Somerset, the other county targeted for culling. The maximum number of badgers to be killed has been set at 1,091 in Gloucestershire and 785 in Somerset.
The cull, managed by Natural England, remains hugely contentious with opponents wanting an emphasis on vaccination and tighter cattle movement measures. However, farmers and the Government insist a cull of badgers is needed to stop spiralling rates of TB in herds.
Team Badger, representing 25 different organisations including the Save Me Trust, is calling for the cull to be cancelled.
Defra confirmed this morning that the cull has begun. Gloucestershire police said there had been no arrests.