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Binfield Badger Group

Protecting Badgers in Berkshire
Charity number: 1075886

Help Stop the Badger Cull

Welcome to the Group's page on the decision by Westminster to carry out a cull of badgers, which as we know from previous culls, will not help with the problem of bovine TB in the cattle herds of the UK.

PLEASE, PLEASE help us to stop the culling of badgers. Westminster is still considering how badgers should be captured and killed - shooting, trapping, snaring and gassing. We need to get as many people as possible to make their view known.  Please act quickly to prevent this mass slaughter of one of Britain's most loved mammals.  Follow these links to find out how you can help.

www.badgerprotectionleague.com

www.badger.org.uk

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Berkshire Badger vaccination initiative

Our Berkshire badgers need you!

We are setting up the Berkshire Badger Vaccination initiative which is designed to vaccinate badgers within specific areas of Berkshire by offering a free service to cattle and dairy farmers and landowners adjacent to them. The programme will continue annually for 4 years.  Our initial application for funding for equipment to support the initiative was declined by DEFRA, but we intend to apply again in the future.  In the mean time we are supporting BBOWT's initiative in West Berkshire and are looking for volunteers to help with the project. 

But we need your help!!!

We need volunteers to assist with this initiative. Tasks are varied and will include people required to help with:-

  • Pre-baiting

  • Getting traps and equipment to the farm sites,

  • Help with cleaning and removing the equipment after use

  • Administration to help with the project plans and paperwork

  • Vet liaison for the ordering of the vaccines

  • Writing PR material for website and newspaper publication

  • Fund raising for equipment

  • General morale support!

If you are interested in helping, no matter how small you would like your involvement to be, please contact a member of the Committee or send an email to me directly at jill@binfieldbadgers.org.uk

Thanks everyone!

 

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Please write or email to your MP to object to this cull.  The Welsh Assembly Government previously voted in favour of a badger cull in North Pembrokeshire, however the strong lobby against the cull has lead to a reversal of this decision and the implementation of a plan to vaccinate.  The English cull is a pilot scheme to eradicate bTB in cattle.  There is a strong possibility that this cull will be extended to the whole of England.  It's imperative that all MPs are lobbied asking them to stop the cull.  

The following shows an example email that you could use as the basis of your own personalised email.

Please write your own email / letter, or copy and add to the one below. 

Your MP's details can be found at:      http://www.writetothem.com/

 

DRAFT EMAIL TEXT

PUT DATE

PUT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS HERE OR YOUR LETTER WON'T BE CONSIDERED

Dear Sir or Madam

Please object to the badger cull.

Culling badgers has been proven not to work by the ISG who killed 11,000 badgers over 9 years at a cost of £35 million and concluded that ‘badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain’- F. J. Bourne June 2007.

Please don’t support this senseless, costly, disruptive and unpopular cull.

Yours sincerely

PUT YOUR NAME HERE

 

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A Binfield Group member kindly forwarded his email and response from Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, including Binfield .  You will see that this MP's response does  not object to culling and ignores the reservoir of bTB in cattle and in other wildlife. It is clear that far more education of MPs, many farmers and the general public is vital if the cull is to be completely stopped! So please read the following and then help to support badgers by writing now. Although the examples are from 2012, the points are still valid today.

email sent before the Commons debate on 25th October 2012:

Commons debate on Badger Cull - 25th October. Facts you need to know.

Dear Adam,

I know that you are very busy, so will hopefully appreciate an email being as brief and to the point as possible.  If you need more information, we are only too pleased to provide this. 

I am a member of the Binfield Badger Group, which covers not just Binfield, but all of Berkshire.  We are a registered charity founded in the mid-eighties and have 130 members.  It will be obvious to you that we are against the culling of badgers and we want you to support us in the debate on 25th October. 

There have been far too many unscientific statements being made by MPs recently, often just regurgitated misinformation put out by the National Farmers Union. Hence without boring you with pages of supporting evidence (which we have), here are some facts that you can use next week: 

  • Badgers do carry bovine TB, but so do deer and many other wild and domesticated species.  Hence even killing off all badgers cannot wipe out bTB in cattle.

  • There is much debate about how badgers could pass on bTB to cattle, however this just distracts from a key fact that cattle to cattle infection is the major cause of the disease spreading – estimated at 85% cattle to cattle.  This is why cattle movement restrictions need to be tightened up!

  • Badgers do not “suffer” when they carry bTB.  It has been shown they live to a good age and it does not impede them in any way, so arguments that killing badgers will make the species healthy are wrong, especially as there will be a reservoir of bTB in cattle and other species.

  • DEFRA is being forced to promote a cull just to be seen to be doing something, but all the scientists are saying the thing that should be done is better cattle testing and vaccination of both cattle and badgers.

  • Previous cull trials in the UK and abroad have shown that bTB in cattle is not eradicated and there is strong evidence that it could make the situation worse. The previous trials cost tax payers £50m and involved over 10,000 badgers being killed. The expert output on the trials states culling does not work.

  • Injected vaccines have been tested on badgers and the results are positive.  This is what is being done in Wales.  If more effort is put into oral vaccine development we will have a very cheap method of deploying the vaccine in baited food.

  • Vaccines are available for cattle, but need changes in legislation – let’s put our effort here!  An argument against cattle vaccination is that it interferes with the bTB testing, however a new test is already available.

  • The “passionate” element of the animal rights community are likely to interfere with the cull trial, both invalidating any pseudo-scientific output, plus risking their own lives being shot at night. The cull is by open field shooting at night, which is likely to have maimed badgers going underground to die a long and painful death.

Please do contact me if you need any more detail. We don’t have bTB in cattle locally, but the cull debate is about a national cull.  Do you want to stop your children being able to visit one of our hides to watch these intelligent and curious animals of the night?

Regards

[name and address included in original email]

Response received by post on 2nd November 2012:

Mr XXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

RG42 XXXX                                                               Thursday, 25th October 2012

 Dear MrXXXXXXXXX,

Thank you for your email about badgers and bovine TB, which I received today.

You should know that I am completely against unnecessary cruelty to animals. I understand the
strength of feeling on this issue, both in Windsor and nationwide, and you are right to raise your
concerns.

Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is having a devastating effect on many farms and families, with nearly
25,000 cattle slaughtered in England in 2010 because of the disease. It has already cost UK
farmers £90million and unless the Government takes effective action, it will continue to spread
amongst the wildlife and livestock population. It is predicted that the disease will cost the
taxpayer more than £1billion to deal with over the next ten years.

The Government remains committed to its policy of badger control as part of its plans to
eradicate TB in cattle. However, on the basis of new evidence, including a new assessment of the
badger population size it has been decided that it would be irresponsible to rush ahead with pilots,
potentially making the problem worse. The policy is being delivered by the National Farmers
Union and farmer-led bodies, and they have requested a delay in the pilot culls until June next
year.

I have always been clear on the importance of scientific evidence on this issue, and I am therefore
pleased that the Government has agreed to the request.

Thank you once again for taking the time to write to me. It is understandably a sensitive issue,
and I do hope the disease can be eradicated as swiftly as possible.

Yours sincerely,

 Adam Afriyie MP

 

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Following the debate in the Commons the Chairman of the Badger Trust emailed the following letter to all affiliated badger groups.  It provides a view of the challenges ahead:

From: Badger Trust Staff
Date: 29 October 2012 09:52
Subject: .. Note to groups and supporters from Dave Williams
To: Badger Trust Press

29th October 2012

Dear All,

I am sure you will understand that the speed of recent events has prevented me from writing to you more promptly.  At the beginning of last week we heard rumours that the cull had either started or was about to. However at around midnight on Monday 22nd, we were told the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, was to make an announcement;  Twelve hours later to our delight  he told the House of Commons  that the  two pilot culls  in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset had been postponed until next year. Reasons given included the Olympics, policing, bad weather, and legal challenges—a reference, of course,  to our own JR and subsequent appeal.

I can also confirm that on that same day, we were poised to issue a challenge to Natural England on  aspects of the licensing arrangements and we believe news of that action was a factor in the NFU decision to notify the Secretary of State that they would be unable to complete the cull this year. 

Brian May posted an e-petition on the Government site on 7th September 2012 and within a matter of weeks, the number of signatures had reached over 100,000. This  enabled the coalition of organisations formed by him, under the name Team Badger, to persuade a group of backbench MPs to request a debate in Parliament. This request was granted.  We are indebted to Brian for the action he has taken and the surge of media interest which this has generated.  On the day before the debate many members of  Team Badger attended the Commons to lobby  MPs. Several hundred badger supporters were there, including me. My MP was sympathetic but being Conservative, was hesitant about voting against her own government.

The debate  took place on October 25th and the motion against the cull was tabled by Caroline Lucas, ably supported by Mary Creagh and others. The result was that 147 cross-party MPs voted against the proposed cull, with only 28 in favour.  This is not binding on the Government and both the NFU and the Secretary of State say they remain determined to kill badgers next year and to roll the cull out in further areas from 2014 onwards.  The Hansard report is at

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/chan56.pdf

 The debate included a great deal of  discussion about vaccination of both badgers and cattle.  Effective vaccines are critical to the future of farming, so we hope  the Government will objectively review all aspects of their bovine Tb strategy and develop a control policy which abandons culling.  Their current proposals are bad for the farming industry, bad for  cattle and bad for  badgers.   The proposed cull will not solve bovine TB, and Badger Trust would be willing to take part in detailed and substantive discussions with the farming industry to try to reach agreement on the way forward..

The introduction on 1st January, 2013, of long overdue new cattle controls  will help, but ultimately, of course, cattle vaccination offers the best long-term solution. Defra ignore the fact that there has been a reduction in bTB since 2008 and they continue to cherry pick pieces of the science that fit their case. Somehow their attitude has to change.  Together with our conservation partners in Team Badger, and working closely with eminent scientists, we will continue our campaign to save badgers. In doing so we believe we will also be helping farmers who for years have been misled by the farming unions about the true causes of bTB. We will press the government to discuss urgently with the EU how the vaccination of cattle in the UK can become a reality. Contrary to what the pro-cull factions claim, we are told that the cattle vaccine and the DIVA test could both be available in a very short time.  Until then, you can be assured that Badger Trust will also continue to explore the possibility of further legal challenges against the unwarranted, unscientific and counter productive slaughter of badgers.

 Very many thanks to all of who have helped to get us to this stage. The message is: we fight on until there is a change in government policy.

Regards,

Dave Williams,

Chairman.        

Badger Trust is the only charity dedicated to the conservation of badgers throughout England, Wales and all Ireland.

Protecting badgers through science, the law –and public support

PO Box 708, EAST GRINSTEAD, RH19 2WN

Tel: 08458 287878 

E-mail staff@badgertrust.org.uk

www.badgertrust.org.uk

Registered charity no.1111440

Company registered in the UK No.5460677

 

 

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