It’s not the badger
EARLIER this year, the RSPCA urged members of the public to help prevent the senseless slaughter of thousands of badgers by writing to the Government about proposals for a massive badger cull. The result was fantastic. The Government received a record 47,
EARLIER this year, the RSPCA urged members of the public to help prevent the senseless slaughter of thousands of badgers by writing to the Government about proposals for a massive badger cull. The result was fantastic. The Government received a record 47,474 responses. Most opposed a cull.
But this isn't the end of the matter. The Government is still under pressure to withdraw badgers' legal protection and allow them to be shot, snared or even gassed because - it is claimed - this would reduce TB in cattle. A decision is expected this summer.
The latest scientific evidence indicates that killing badgers could actually increase TB levels in cattle. Expert advice is that the main factor in spreading the disease is not badgers but diseased cattle.
Millions of cattle are moved around the country every year and it is estimated that up to a third may be carrying undiagnosed TB. The RSPCA has strongly supported the Government's recent introduction of tests for cattle before they are moved. We have also pressed for more routine testing of cattle, strict quarantining of new animals and financial help to farmers to pay for the tests.
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There is currently an Early Day Motion - a kind of petition which only MPs may sign. It urges the Government to act on the clear scientific evidence and concentrate on tackling the disease spread between cattle.
Readers may wish to encourage their MP to sign the EDM (number 1788) on badgers. They can find their MP via www.locata.co.uk/commons or write to him at the House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.
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JOHN ATTER, RSPCA East Regional Manager, Peterborough