Liberal Democrats will at full council next Wednesday call on the council to write to the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food opposing any further proposed badger culls.
The highly controversial trial badger cull that took place in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset last year was met with fierce resistanceby members of the public, eminent scientists and animal welfare charities including the RSPCA.
In spite of continued opposition and claims that badger culling is significantly more expensive than vaccination, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, Andrew George, fears that the Government will carry on their policy of culling badgersand ignore independent scientific evidence that says it will make matters worse.
Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson (LD: Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) who will be proposing next week’s council motion said that:
“It is ridiculous that the cull, which ended with just over half of the planned 5,000 badgers being killed, cost £7.3 million in total, equated to more than £4,000 per dead badger.
“The Government’s policy walks a ‘tightrope’ in that culling less than 70% of the badger population and there is little benefit in disease control. Cull more than 70% and there is a very real risk of destroying the entire population of the animals in that area.
“Last’s years trial cull, which had already been postponed from the year before was an avoidable failure that should not be repeated anytime in the future.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat County Group, Cllr. Colin Hay also said:
“I am very proud that Liberal Democrats locally have relentlessly campaigned against the badger cull even before the trial areas were named as being West Gloucestershire and West Somerset back in January 2012.
“It is understandable that many farmers are desperate to find a solution to eradicating bovine TB (bTB) in cattle, but with the high costs involved with this latest trial with very little benefit, a more permanent solution needs to be found.
“Like Wales, the badger cull programme should be scrapped once and for all and instead replaced with a vaccination programme. Bovine TB is the issue not badgers.”