Animal rights advocates are condemning plans for a badger cull in England, which has added five kill zones, according to media reports today.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare, in a press statement, said it strongly opposes plans for the cull to be extended across new zones of South Devon, North Devon, North Cornwall, South Herefordshire and West Dorset. This is in addition to existing cull zones in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset.
IFAW, in the statement, said it always has opposed the badger cull for being cruel and without scientific justification.
Leading scientists and wildlife experts also have stated opposition to the badger cull because it will not significantly reduce incidents of bovine TB.
Pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset were ruled ineffective and inhumane by an Independent Expert Panel.
Jordi Casamitjana at the IFAW said, “At IFAW, along with the rest of the animal protection movement, we remain resolute in our strong opposition to this cruel, irrational and unnecessary cull.
“In preparation for this year’s continued slaughter, those of us who want to see our British wildlife protected have been ensuring we will have more volunteers than ever joining the peaceful Wounded Badger Patrols in the cull areas so they can help any injured badgers in need, as well as bearing witness to what is happening in the countryside.”
The IFAW said the solution to bovine TB is not to kill badgers but to adopt a joined-up approach to tackle the problem. This includes better control of cattle movement, an improved testing regime and increased biosecurity on farms.
Farmers in Devon have seen a reduction in the incidence of bovine TB at the same rates as their neighbors in Somerset, but without the shooting of a single badger.
“There is no reliable evidence that the inhumane and ineffective badger cull has had a significant effect on reducing bovine TB in the pilot areas,” Casamitjana said. “Vaccinating badgers can also form part of the solution, but as this is a cattle problem ultimately the answer is better cattle testing and better control of cattle movement.”
Casamitjana continued, “Countless badgers have been killed unnecessarily and the Government should be listening to the scientific evidence rather than pressing ahead with plans to kill more British badgers.”