17-02-2014 04:24 AM | Animal Health, News, Veterinary News

Badger welfare concerns raised amid flooding



Badgers could be falling victim to the severe flooding affecting the west and south of England, according to the Humane Society International.

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.

Comments

17-02-2014 10:41 AM | Posted by Clued-Up
DEFRA minister Eustice's recent comments about their bTB "strategy" suggest the ConDems have reluctantly admitted the abject failure of the badger cull. The foolish suggestion of putting badgers on the pill is a sign that DEFRA's looking for a way out.
17-02-2014 10:57 AM | Posted by Roger Broad
What more is there to see from DEFRA and its helpers on this Badger Cull exercise? Together with the NFU it has been prejudiced against Science. The numbers game has ranged from too many Badgers by the NFU (postpone this cull for one year) to Owen Paterson too few badgers. ( they have moved the Goalposts) to an extension of licence in Gloucestershire rubber stamped against the advice of the Scientific Adviser and two Board members of Natural England. Because they asked DEFRA to confirm how they arrived at the revised numbers. And were told I do not Know DEFRA have not replied.
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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