I oppose the culling of badgers because I do not believe it is an effective way of managing Bovine Tubercolosis.
A 2007 report concluded that badger culls could make no meaningful contribution to reducing Bovine Tuberculosis. In fact, evidence suggests that disturbed remaining badger populations can spread Bovine Tuberculosis further.
During the last Parliament, the Independent Expert Panel appointed to monitor the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of the first year of the Conservative led Coalition Government’s badger culls concluded that the culls in 2013 failed on both effectiveness and humaneness grounds.
Nevertheless, the current Conservative Government insists that badger culling in areas with high incidence of Tuberculosis in cattle is an effective part of its eradication strategy. Several environmental experts have questioned the evidence base for this. It also remains the case that culling has taken place over many decades, yet has not successfully eradicated the disease.
I believe we need a new approach and for some time I have supported an alternative, science-led strategy which prioritises development of a vaccine together with improved cattle testing and cattle management, tighter biosecurity measures, and improved animal husbandry.
While it is welcome that the Government is pursuing other measures such as tighter cattle controls, biosecurity, and the design of a new Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme (subject to a global shortage of the vaccine), it is disappointing that it continues to pursue culling.
I can assure you I will continue to oppose the culling of badgers and press for long term solutions to end Bovine Tuberculosis.