I am opposed to badger culling, which is not only a deeply inhumane policy, but has not been scientifically proven to be an effective way of tackling the spread of bovine TB.
In 2018, an independent review of the Government’s long-term bovine TB eradication strategy was carried out by Professor Sir Charles Godfray. The review called for a greater emphasis on controlling the disease in cattle and said that moving from lethal to non-lethal control of the disease in badgers is highly desirable.
The Government published its response to the review in March this year. It said that the current intensive culling policy would begin to be phased out in the next few years, gradually replaced by government-supported badger vaccination and surveillance. The Government said it would accelerate work to develop a deployable cattle bovine TB vaccine within the next five years, as well as working to improve diagnostic testing.
I welcome that the Government is finally taking these steps to end the culling of badgers and move to non-lethal interventions to reduce the prevalence of this costly and terrible disease. Since the Godfray review was published however, tens of thousands of badgers have been killed, and it appears that millions more pounds of taxpayer’s money will be spent on culling badgers in the coming years.
I believe that the cull must end much more quickly, alongside strong measures to reduce bovine TB such as improved cattle testing, vaccinating badgers and better controls on the movement of herds.
I have written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, and asked him to bring forward the Government’s plan to phase out badger culling. I have posted a copy of this letter below for you to see.