An identical cull was undertaken in the 1990s and was deemed a failure even in those areas where every badger was killed, for the badgers, in time, returned sometimes infected with TB from neigbouring cattle and mammals: the cull spread the disease rather than curtailed it.
It is interesting that government sources are tempering their approval of a cull by acknowledging that good animal husbandry is a necessary part of controlling TB in cattle, but there are few signs that this has been made a compulsory part of the culling scheme. All incidences of major disease in livestock within memory have been due to poor welfare and lax movement controls, and in those places where the best farming practices are applied, there is no TB either in cattle or their badger neighbours.
I am baffled as to why, in the face of strong scientific evidence and past experience, the British government is insisting on the cull when there are humane alternatives available: my suspicion is that it is to appease the vocal farming lobby which puts the blame totally on badgers, and because it is the easiest way to be seen to be doing something to assist what is, indeed, a serious and costly problem.
I am thankful that, this weekend, I will not hear the sound of gun shot aimed at badgers, living as I do in Wales, and I feel for the animal lovers in the West Country who may do so, and will know what the target is. I do not encourage sentimentality, but I do advocate fairness.]]>