Team Badger Parliament Briefing 12 July 2016
Dr Brian May says that the badger cull has only made things worse in the war against bovine TB. Speaking outside Parliament before the launch of Team Badger’s Science Conference Brian May was scathing of David Cameron’s culling policy and called on the new Prime Minister Theresa May to hold fire on a new roll out of badger culls this year. Brian May said:
“We have a new administration, let’s ask them to take very serious and fresh look at the problem of bovine TB in cattle. It seems evident from the fact that the Government has not produced any evidence whatsoever that the existing culls have worked. It seems evident that it is not working.
Team Badger was launching the #BigBadgerMosaic a badger shaped mosaic containing 1000’s of individual ‘selfies’ that have been uploaded by people opposed to the badger cull. You can still upload your ‘selfie’ here: http://www.teambadger.org/bigbadgermosaic. We have brought together the leading Scientists and experts in the field to brief MP's on the reality of the situation, and would like to thank Anne Main, MP for hosting the debate.
Professor John Bourne, Chair of the Independent Scientific Group concluded there was “not a hope in hell” of the current government strategy eradicating TB in 25 years.
Professor Ranald Munro chaired the Independent Expert Panel commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Professor concluded: treatment of badgers in the pilot badger culls would not meet welfare standards required by Animals in Scientific Procedures Act.
Rosie Woodroffe, Advisor to Independent Scientific Review of Bovine Tuberculosis in Cattle and Badgers, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food speaking for all three Professors said "We need a strategic plan to fight TB. We need strategic control of animal movement. The taxpayers’ money spent on compensating farmers for slaughtered TB cattle was also a waste. “It is monstrous that a disease that is stimulated, maintained and geographically spread by cattle movement, which is in the control of government and farmers, costs the taxpayer so much. It is quite monstrous because the wherewithal is there, the science is there and it [just] needs sensible application.”
Brian May concluded “The Government were advised that culling badgers would make no meaningful contribution whatsoever to the control of bovine TV in cattle. That advice was given to them by their own body who did the research. “They killed 11,000 badgers to discover this but Cameron’s Government completely ignored all this advice and carried on with a cull which has cost the taxpayer millions of pounds and we are no better off. In fact, we may be worse off.” “Sadly, the Government and elements of the NFU have blamed it on the badgers but we believe that’s unjustified.
Brian continued: “Professor Ian Boyd himself, who is the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government at the moment, has said the contribution by badgers to the whole situation is probably less than six per cent. “Now if that’s the case, we should be spending millions of pounds eliminating bovine TB in the herds, not by peripheral activity with wildlife. There is some evidence that meddling with wildlife can make things worse rather than better. So we are taking a terrible risk.
“We are spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on something which is never going to work. So let’s change and do something new."