YOUR VIEWS

Dr Lizzie Wilberforce

Well known South and West Wales Wildlife Trust Officer, Lizzie Wilberforce, gives her views on the Welsh Assembly Government’s decision to "cull" badgers.



A Political Convenience?

One day in March 2009, I opened up my email inbox to find a message from a colleague entitled “WAG badger cull announcement for North Pembrokeshire”. I didn’t need to open it to have a fair idea of the content. Despite Wildlife Trust staff and many others across Wales working for years with the Welsh Assembly Government on a better strategy to tackle bovine TB, we already suspected that the Minister for Rural Affairs was about to announce a proactive cull. We were also harbouring a suspicion that it would be in north Pembrokeshire, as we knew one of our flagship nature reserves there, Teifi Marshes, was sitting within Wales’s key TB hotspot.

Being pre-armed with this suspicion didn’t make the reading any easier. Knowing that bovine TB was a mounting issue, I had spent considerable time trying to get a good grasp of all the research - of which there is a huge amount. As a manager of nature reserves, the issue of TB is never far away. I depend on grazing animals, and especially cattle, to maintain our grassland nature reserves, and the routine of my job brings me into regular contact with other owners of cattle- either the graziers of our own estate, or neighbouring landowners. Facing regular questions on the subject, I knew I had to have a sound grasp of the facts.

It took time and energy to read through even part of the research that was available- to try to comprehend the product of millions of pounds invested, and years of intensive effort by scientists across the UK and Eire. I worked on the assumption- perhaps naively- that the policy makers would do the same thing, and make their decisions accordingly. When I read that email on 24 March, I knew I had been wrong.

To me, the proposed badger cull is one of the biggest challenges to nature conservation since I started work in Wales. It may not pose the greatest threat to the long term conservation of our environment- but the cull is scientifically invalid, and a deep, and very public challenge to how we value our native wildlife. To kill wild animals, against all scientific evidence, is at best an abdication of responsibility, at worst the slaughter of thousands of animals for political convenience.

Although I can’t help feeling apprehensive about tackling the might of the pro-cull lobby, I believe that the cull is fundamentally wrong, and that we have a responsibility to stand up for our local wildlife. The cull won’t work- it won’t make a meaningful impact on TB levels, it will leave taxpayers out of pocket, and won’t do anything to help farmers out of an already difficult situation. We may not have a lot of money to throw behind our argument, but we have the evidence on our side, and the strength of our convictions. And we’ll keep fighting.

Lizzie Wilberforce

 

ON THIS SITE

With the Welsh Assembly Government declaring that they intend carrying out the mass slaughter of Badgers within the next few months, time is of the essence. All those who oppose their actions need to start talking to each other. We need to join together. We need to plan a a coordinated response. And, we need to do that now!

Save The Badger was set up as an umbrella group to coordinate the campaign against the Welsh Assembly Government's plan to slaughter badgers by the thousand in Wales in early 2010. It will of course also fight any similar plans by the Westminster government or any of the other devolved powers in the UK.

Please take the time to look through the pages on our site.

 We will try to bring you any up to date information and news which is of particular relevance – if you want more general information, please go to one of the other sites where you will find a lot of background information.

We will also periodically feature the views and opinions of prominent individuals who oppose the WAG decision. We begin with a piece by Welsh writer and environmental activist, John Evans. This is a must read!

Don't forget, we want to hear your news, and we also want you views. We must unite together to fight this premeditated act of barbarity.

Please contact us by clicking the link at the side of the page.

"The evidence is that a badger cull on a scale or level of efficiency that seems feasible will not solve cattle farmers' problem – that problem is truly serious. Understandably, the feeling is that something must be done, but the evidence is that it should not be a badger cull." Sir David Attenborough

“We must not make badgers scapegoats for bovine TB”. Joanna Lumley

"I say no to this or any other badger cull and I urge all caring people to do the same. Get rid of ignorance, not badgers.” Benjamin Zephaniah

 

 

 

OTHER ORGANISATIONS AGAINST THE CULL

 

copyright © www.savethebadger.com