Badger welfare concerns raised amid flooding
The charity said it was concerned for the welfare of badgers in the pilot cullt areas of Somerset and Gloucestershire who have 'already endured disturbances from weeks of shooting and trapping last year.'
Mark Jones, vet and HSI/UK Executive Director, said: “The fate of our beleaguered badgers in this flooding is of real concern, especially in Somerset and Gloucestershire where these animals have already endured weeks of shooting under the government’s culling policy.
"Some setts will almost certainly have been damaged or flooded out completely, meaning that whole badger families could be disturbed. There will be cubs in those setts right now and it’s possible that some cubs will have drowned too.
"This could have significant impacts on badger populations later in the year. In the light of such dire weather impacts, we urge DEFRA to delay making any badger cull roll-out decision and to commission a thorough impact assessment. Our poor badgers have been through enough.”
The Independent Expert Panel report on the effectiveness and humaneness of the pilot culls, is expected to be published soon. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is due to announce a decision at the same time on whether culling will be extended to a greater number of areas.
Recently we have been advised that due to a Computer glitch !!! The figures released on herd BTB infection have been in error since 2011. The revised figures showed significantly improved figures, especially in Wales some 23.6% (a vaccination and improved bio Security system in operation)
And now certainly all sorts of Damage to wildlife And Farming as a result of adverse weather. But as a result does DEFRA or Natural England know exactly how much. NO, and on that basis Natural England has responsibilities to the environment, which it cannot undertake until it accurately can assess. How much wildlife has been affected and other impacts to wildlife?
It cannot in my view licence any further culling until, based on last years failed Cull, the erroneous AHVLA figures, the apparent success of vaccination /Bio Security in Wales. And an accurate assessment of the recent adverse weather. To do so would in my view leave it open to legal challenges. The only way forward to any long term eradication of BTB appears to be science based. And to include Vaccination, improved testing and Bio security. The rest has failed.
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