In a public statement proclaiming “just 12 weeks left to help save the badgers”, the RSPCA has announced that it remains “firmly opposed” to any plans for a widespread badger cull, and claims its opposition is “based on solid science, not sentiment”.
The RSPCA has announced that it remains “firmly opposed” to any plans for a widespread badger cull based on current science, welfare concerns and practicality.
In its official response to the consultation launched by DEFRA today (which proclaims “just 12 weeks left to help save the badgers), the RSPCA claims its opposition is “based on solid science, not sentiment” and urged the Government to “listen to public opinion“.
The RSPCA has slammed the new consultation due to the fact that it follows a decision made by the previous government (in 2008) not to embark on a badger cull after the publication of independent scientific advice and a previous consultation showed overwhelming public opposition.
David Bowles, director of communications for the RSPCA, said: “Now is the time to act. The results of the previous consultation show very clearly that a badger cull is not what people want. It is vital that this new Government listens to the same message as the last one.
“Scientific evidence has proved culling would have a limited benefit on the disease and in surrounding areas outside the cull it may increase the disease in cattle.”
The RSPCA is also concerned that, in these austere times, the Government may devolve killing badgers to farmers, which would be a recipe for disaster.
The society agrees there is a problem with bovine TB but believes a recently-approved TB vaccine for badgers combined with increasing the level of cattle testing, improving biosecurity and imposing stricter controls on the movement of cattle are the ways most likely to be sustainable and effective in reducing the incidence of bovine TB amongst cattle.
Senior RSPCA scientist Colin Booty said: “Our opposition to a badger cull is based on solid science not sentiment. There is compelling evidence which shows a policy of badger culling is unsustainable, and could even worsen the spread of bovine TB due to a process known as perturbation.”