Saturday, December 7, 2013

Badger culls - Debate in Parliament 11 December - Add your voice as a UK citizen

Badger culls: How to ask your MP to vote in the debate in Parliament this Wednesday 11 Dececember: #stopthecull via @RSPCA_official
1,861 badgers have been needlessly slaughtered since August and even though the pilot culls are now finished, the battle for badgers is far from over. 
There is an important debate in Parliament on WEDNESDAY 11TH DECEMBER to discuss the future of the culls. Please take action to ask your Member of Parliament to vote no to culling more badgers:
 Click to fill out this form to begin

The form is easy to fill out. Add your address and the campaign will find 'your' MP and send this message (which you can add to, of course). The text of the standard message is:
Following the failure of the pilot culls to meet even the revised minimum targets, despite an extension in both areas, I write to urge your attendance and continued support at an important and long overdue debate on the policy of badger culling this Wednesday 11th December. 
The events of the past weeks and months have been nothing less than farcical with ‘goal posts’ moved, a dramatic and unexplained drop in badger numbers and unwarranted extensions to both pilots. 
Experts in the field of wildlife disease management are now warning that the pilot culls could have made the spread of TB in cattle worse and the idea that the culls could now roll out across the country is a frightening one. 
The pilots prove that the cull is not a practical or achievable way to reduce the spread of bovineTB. 
This is not the right way to help farmers, cattle or badgers and it is time that the Government abandoned the policy in favour of improved bio-security measures, a comprehensive vaccination programme and tighter controls on the movement of cattle which are effectively enforced. 
The long overdue Westminster Hall debate on this issue on Wednesday 11th December will take place from 2:30 - 4pm. 
I urge you to attend and voice concerns about a wider roll out of the badger cull next year. 
I direct you to a useful briefing on this topic ahead of Wednesday's debate:
Here's the briefing document again:

Extract from briefing:
The effectiveness of the cull has to be judged under the framework defined by the Independent Scientific Group (ISG), appointed by the Government to manage the randomised badger culling trial (RBCT). 
The Government has claimed that its policy is based on conclusions from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT). The RBCT was conducted from 1998 to 2006 and resulted in the killing of over 12,000 badgers. 
It found initially an average decrease in the disease of approximately 23% in the centre of proactively culled areas but an increase of approximately 29% on neighbouring land outside the culled area. 
This difference is thought to be due to the biology and behaviour of badgers, and the phenomenon known as “perturbation” where surviving badgers from the cull area and badgers from outside the cull area move to new areas as a consequence of cull disturbance, leading to increasing prevalence of bTB infection in badgers and a consequent increase in the risk of transfer of disease to cattle. 
Overall benefits from culling were modest with an average reduction of just 12-16% in the new herd incidence of infection over a period of several years. 
The final conclusion of the trial was that ‘badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to bovine TB control in Britain.’

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