Green MEP fury at Gove broken promises as Badger cull expands across South East

Keith Taylor MEP, the Green Party’s Animals Spokesperson, has responded with dismay at proposals to extend the ‘scientifically illiterate, ineffective and downright cruel’ badger cull to across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Hampshire.

Last month the Government launched a ‘review’ of its bovine TB control strategy, which was announced by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove who claimed he didn’t want to see badgers being killed in England ‘indefinitely’. However, campaigners were quick to point out that the review explicitly refuses to reassess Defra’s badger cull policy.

The launch of the review conveniently, campaigners claim, overshadowed the simultaneous announcement that the badger cull would be hugely expanded across England.

Natural England has subsequently revealed it has received new licence applications to extend the cull across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Hampshire. The cull seeks to wipe out 70% of badger populations in any given location.

Mr. Taylor, a Vice President of the European Parliament’s Animal Welfare Intergroup who was honoured last year by the RSPCA for his work on animal welfare across Europe, said:

“Just when you thought the Tories had finally understood just how much the British people care for animals and our precious wildlife, they announce plans to expand their campaign of slaughter across the South East. A plan justified by such a poor understanding of the available evidence. It makes a mockery of any claims Michael Gove makes about the Tories’ new found love of animals.”

As bovine TB cases continue to rise despite the cull, the senior Green politician added:

“What we need is an urgent and genuine review of the Government’s bTB control policies. If only to reinforce what we already know: the badger cull is a spectacularly expensive, ineffective and downright inhumane policy – condemned by the Government’s own experts and the British Veterinary Association. In the past four years, the Government has massacred 15,000 badgers, at a cost of almost £7,000 a kill.

“Despite the expense and extensive cruelty, not to mention the systematic destruction of a protected species, the Government still fails to provide any evidence that killing badgers is having an impact on reducing bovine TB infection rates in badger cull zones.”

“The scientific evidence and economic analysis tell us that the cull is an irrational and failed project. In fact, the latest government-funded report concluded that the UK’s bovine TB ‘control’ programme is nothing more than mass cruelty supported by a bad reading of the science.

“The Government clearly has no interest in making the compassionate, scientifically sound and economically literate choice by putting an end to the cull once and for all. Rather than condemning more badgers to long, painful and unnecessary deaths, Tories needs to refocus their efforts on effective, humane and evidence-based controls.”