Your letters: Badger cull is a needless massacre

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I am horrified that the policy to kill badgers in England is continuing and could even be expanded. It is a needless massacre driven by farmers and politicians.

In protest, I am boycotting English dairy products and would like to encourage others to do likewise.

Persecuting badgers for being the main vector for spreading bTB makes as much sense as persecuting black cats for spreading bad luck and witchcraft.

It is time that the badger stopped being a scapegoat for the failings of farming.

The qualified consensus – reached by the 10-year study by Independent Scientific Group – is that badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the control of bovine TB in Britain.

Yes, cases have sometimes increased, but the fact remains that the finger of blame for this crisis has to point back at the farming community and bad political decisions.

They can attempt to demonise English wildlife all they want, but the intensification of farming practices and the huge increase in cattle movements are the real reasons for the spread of this disease.

Around 14 million cattle are moved across the UK each year – this number has quadrupled since 1999.

Dairy herd sizes have more than doubled since the 1970s, when bovine TB was at its lowest. There is a direct correlation between larger herd sizes and the spread of disease.

The rush to intensify animal agriculture has led to this disastrous situation.

Dairy cows suffer the dual burden of pregnancy and lactation during much of their lives. Their immune systems are shot to pieces and they are physically exhausted and killed at a fraction of their natural life span.

Add to this unreliable bovine TB testing that is inaccurate in one-third of cases, and you start to see the real causes of the problem.

My disgust that English badgers are still under threat is so profound that I am boycotting all English dairy products – and I would encourage all those with a love of our indigenous wildlife to do the same. Perhaps a drop in profits will bring the industry – and our politicians – to their senses.

For more information on what you can do, visit www.viva.org.uk/badgers.

One aspect which isn’t always talked about is that crime against badgers has gone up tremendously since the government’s cruel badger cull.

Some of the general public now feel they have every right to kill them, regardless of the fact they are a protected species.

Christine Williams

Coningsby