MPs have voted by an overwhelming majority to end the badger cull, following last year's pilots in Somerset and Gloucestershire. But despite the huge margin of 219 to one, it WON'T change the policy of the Government, whose MPs chose to abstain. Here's Bob Constantine.
Wildlife campaigner Bill Oddie has addressed a crowd of anti-badger cull protestors who have gathered outside Parliament in advance of this afternoon's debate.
The region's pilot badger cull was ineffective and too many animals suffered. That's according to an independent study commissioned by the government. It found the number of badgers killed in Somerset fell short of targets - designed to limit the spread of TB in cattle.
Pauline Kidner from Secret Life Wildlife Rescue says the pilot has highlighted the solution.
– A DEFRA spokesperson
The Independent Expert Panel has not submitted its report to ministers and the report has not been published. We knew there’d be lessons to be learned from the first year of the pilot culls which is why we’re looking forward to receiving the panel’s recommendations for improving the way they are carried out, because we need to do all we can to tackle this devastating disease.
– Robin Hargreaves, President of the British Veterinary Association
It is important to remember that these culls were pilots precisely because the Government needed to test the humaneness, safety and efficacy of controlled shooting as a method of culling badgers. [...] We are unable to comment in detail on the findings of the IEP until we have seen the report [...] but, if these figures are true, then they would certainly raise concerns about both the humaneness and efficacy of controlled shooting. [...] We have always stated that if the pilots were to fail on humaneness then BVA could not support the wider roll-out of the method of controlled shooting.
– Brian May, Queen guitarist and leading anti-cull campaigner, speaking on BBC Breakfast
We should also mention that the report discovered that it was very inhumane as well. I don't think people will stand for this. You're talking about badgers taking five or 10 minutes to die. Owen Paterson's denied that but it's obviously true. [...] I have a lot of sympathy for farmers but this is not the way to solve the problem. The way we believe we can solve it is by vaccinating the badgers, and also vaccinating the cows. [...] Badgers can be vaccinated for about £120 a head, but it has just cost £4,200 per badger to kill the poor things.
A Government-commissioned investigation into the 2013 pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset is said to have found they were ineffective and inhumane, according to BBC reports.
Research commissioned by the Government found that the number of badgers killed fell short of targets set to limit the spread of TB in cattle:
- The aim was to kill 70% in cull areas within a six-week period, but fewer than 50% of badgers were killed in both areas during the first six weeks
- Over 5% of badgers took longer than five minutes to die, failing the test for humaneness