Campaigners' petition to badger council into ending 'inhumane' cull

By Gary Smee Wednesday 21 May 2014 Updated: 23/05 11:08

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Buy photos » Operation Badger members Di Pugh, Ruthie McNally, Roberta Balfour and Pauline Burgess handed in a 1,400 name signature to County Hall calling for a ban on culling on council owned land. Picture by Gary Smee.

CAMPAIGNERS calling for the 'inhumane' cull of badgers to be prevented in parts of Worcestershire have handed in a petition to Worcestershire County Council.

Members of Operation Badger, wearing full badger costumes, presented the 1,400 signature document at County Hall last Thursday (May 15).

The petition calls for the council to ban any culling of the animal on its land when the Government rolls out the programme to other parts of the county in 2015 following a trial in Gloucestershire and Somerset last year.

Badger culling involves killing the animals on a large scale in a bid to prevent bTB – Bovine Tuberculosis – spreading to cattle.

However the group has slammed the policy branding it deeply flawed. They claimed the pilot runs failed and said figures showed only a small proportion of bTB was spread from badgers to cows and the majority was spread from cattle to cattle.

The campaigners have called on the Government to instead look at better controls for the movement of cows as well as support for farmers.

They also urged leading politicians to divert funds from more pilot tests to developing a badger vaccine for the disease.

Operation Badger, a national group, has already seen its members hand in petitions to other councils and hold protests throughout the country ahead of the planned roll out.

Pauline Burgess, who handed in the petition to the County Hall, said she wanted the council to show its support.

"At least those badgers will be safe and it will send a message to the Government that the British public doesn't want badgers culled," she said.

"They're an iconic British mammal and the public want to keep them."

Di Pugh from Malvern Link said they were particularly worried in Worcestershire as a number of landowners had already applied to DEFRA for a licence to kill badgers.

"There are so many things the farmers can do rather than just kill badgers," she added.

"The first step should be things like improved bio-security. Seal up the holes in the barns so badgers can't get in.

"They're advised, but generally don't bother to raise the food off the ground and into troughs.

"There is a badger vaccine which can be done but we'd like them to vaccinate the cattle.

"These are the things that need changing and then perhaps look at controlling badgers but surely you have to go ahead with all these things first."

A spokesman from Worcestershire County Council said the petition had been sent to the appropriate officers to make a response and it would also be dealt with by Coun John Campion, responsible for transformation and change, at the council.

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