Image ©

The RSPCA revealed this week that an e-petition against the Government’s badger cull had achieved a “record number of signatures“, with more than 260,000 people (and counting…) signing up to protest against the shooting of badgers as a way of combating bovine TB.

This huge figure makes “Stop the Badger Cull” the best supported petition of its kind – although that’s not particularly surprising, particularly when you bear in mind the emotive aspect of the subject matter, the active support of numerous popular celebrities and plenty of prime-time coverage for the cause (including BBC’s The One Show).

However, it’s probably fair to say that the majority of those signatories were not persuaded into it through the use of indisputable facts and figures – mainly because such figures do not exist. If they did, Defra wouldn’t consider killing badgers in the first place, would it?

This problem has been ongoing for years, during which time UK cattle farmers have had to jump through hoops (slaughtering livestock, introducing improved cattle controls, improving biosecurity and participating in pre-movement testing) while the Government “ummed and ahhed” over culling badgers for fear of public backlash.

So, now Defra has finally found the backbone to agree to these pilot culls, wouldn’t it be counterproductive to allow a petition (however big) to put a stop to it?

Yes, this petition’s figures are impressive. But if you want to be fair then you should also note the NFU’s YouGov poll from May 2013, which showed that only 34% of people surveyed were opposed to a badger cull – 27% of whom would change their minds if it stopped bTB from spreading to other areas of the UK.

Extrapolating, that means 66% of the British public either support (29%), don’t know (22%) or have no strong feelings (15%) about a cull – the equivalent of a petition with more than half a million signatures (504,705).

But the guitarist from Queen isn’t promoting that petition, is he?

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of


related content

Digital media has revolutionised the way many vets and VNs fulfil their CPD obligations. Accessing learning online is often cheaper, faster and more convenient than traditional modalities. So, is there still a case to be made for event-based learning? James Westgate reports.

16 mins

The UK’s reputation for animal health and food quality post-Brexit lies in the hands of the country’s official veterinarians, according to UK CVO Nigel Gibbens.

5 mins

Farmers signed up to the scheme could market their animals as being at lower risk of contracting or passing on the disease, says Cattle Health Certification Standards.

3 mins

A series of regional workshops have been set up to help official veterinarians (OVs) explore key issues to help farms remain free from bovine TB.

5 mins

A summary of responses to Defra's review of animal establishments licensing In England has been published. The 12-week consultation received 1,386 substantive responses.

5 mins

Andy Durham and Shelly Hann discuss some exotic diseases that potentially pose a risk of incursion into the UK, including country of origin, various clinical signs and methods of treatment.

21 mins