20 January 2019
At the end of 2018, just as the number of food banks was at its height, the government hadspent £50 million of public money on killing badgers, a protected species.
Despite the findings of an independent review, commissioned by Mr Gove, which concluded that the frequent movement of cattle and poor bio-security on farms severely hampered the control of bovine TB and despite the fact that the incidence of TB in cattle in Dorset, one of the first areas of the cull, has increased, new culls in Staffordshire and Cheshire have commenced.
The cost of killing a single badger has been estimated to cost the tax payer approximately £76,000 while the total funding allocated by government to the vaccination of badgers against TB is approximately £175,000 annually. Scientists contest the effectiveness of the cull and argue that badgers alone cannot be held responsible. Last year several hundred fox hounds were destroyed because they were carrying TB across farmland and of the 994 badger carcasses tested for TB, only 4% showed signs of TB. In addition, frightened badgers disperse and, if any are infected they may potentially spread the disease. Infection crosses from cattle to badgers and badgers to cattle and given the high volume of cattle movement,cattle infect cattle.
The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is commencing its five-year badger vaccination programme to create immunity in many of Staffordshire’s badger communities. The programme is funded by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and its membership. Jeremy Le Froy, Stafford’s MP, has consistently voted in favour of the badger cull so thankfully the Wildlife Trust can and is doing something to mitigate the decision to cull badgers.
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