The NFU has issued a strongly-worded response to a letter in the Independent newspaper about the pilot badger cull to control bovine TB, which claimed badger would be treated as ‘vermin’.
Director of Corporate Affairs Tom Hind wrote:
The National Farmers Union is emphatically not leading the farming community to slaughter without giving the issue of a badger cull any debate (‘Badgers will be treated as vermin’, Letters, The Independent, May 30). We support the government’s policy to help control and eradicate TB by using a package of measures including rigorous TB testing for cattle, movement controls, and a targeted cull of badgers in areas where TB is endemic.
The link between badgers, cattle and bovine TB has been proved beyond doubt. The disease is a massive risk to our cattle population and is out of control. Thousands of farmers and cattle are living with the daily threat of bovine TB hanging over their businesses and families and they need to see action taken now to help curb its spread.
Last year alone, 38,000 cattle were needlessly slaughtered because of this terrible disease across Great Britain. There is no single solution to this disease but the best available scientific information, and the experience of other countries around the world, shows we need a multi-faceted approach. This includes tackling the disease in wildlife through targeted culling.
The idea that the two pilot culls are likely to eradicate badgers from many areas of England is completely wrong. The two culls will be carried out in specific areas, under licence, by trained professionals to ensure they are safe, effective and humane. Culls will only ever be carried out in areas where TB is endemic and will never be carried out nationwide.