Culling badgers is a costly, cruel and wrong response to tackling Bovine TB

A letter from Rachel Wodds MLA:

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

It comes with no great surprise that the minister for Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs has launched the most recent consultation on proposals to tackle Bovine TB in Northern Ireland, given he stated it was his ‘top priority’.

Nor is it a great surprise that badger culling is part of the proposals.

This has been the direction of travel for some time, despite analysis elsewhere that calls into question its effectiveness in combating the disease.

It is clear that culling badgers will come at a significant cost to the taxpayer, even with contributions from farmers, and the question of effectiveness should be put to the fore; not to mention the fact that it will mean killing healthy, and let’s not forget, legally protected animals — which is fundamentally wrong.

We must not accept this cruel approach, which could involve healthy badger cubs starving to death because their mother has been trapped and shot.

If — instead of badger culling — additional resources were allocated to develop better testing, vaccination, enhanced biosecurity, and strategies to deal with the disease in the cattle population; this may provide better value for money, give farmers the assurances they need, and help protect the native badger population.

Rachel Woods, MLA, Holywood, Co Down

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