With the turning of the year, Badger Crowd takes stock and looks to 2020. On the face of it, the outcome of the general election has grim implications for badgers; the likely outcome is a continuation of the failing English bTB policy. This brings an eighth year of increasing misery to farmers, the public and badgers. More premature death and suffering for thousands of cows and badgers in 2020 and more £ millions taxpayers money frittered away on poor policy decisions and flawed implementation. The aim of the work supportedby Badger Crowd, as always, is to focus actions in the right direction and to properly address the bTB disease epidemic.
Legal challenge applications against Supplementary Badger Culling in the Supreme Court and stayed cases brought by Tom Langton, sit in the slow judicial queue. These offer a chink of light in an otherwise dark landscape. But the work of the Badger Crowd extends beyond supporting legal challenges. Behind the scenes, there is a broad network of dozens of experienced, informed and dedicated volunteers, looking at and tackling the endless stream of misinformation and anti-badger propaganda. Science, messaging, data gathering, monitoring, fundraising and legal issues must all be addressed by the extended professional and volunteer network. The network is a force for badgers and the fight against bovine TB that never stops. Many established badger groups and trusts lend support in many ways too.
Another government funded study was published this year using modelling to incorrectly make claims of success for badger culling in the ‘Pilot’ areas, pushed by a government propaganda campaign. This is despite advice from the Defra Chief Scientist in June 2019 that it will never be possible to separate any effects of badger culling from other interventions. And last week, a genomics paper has been published making controversial claims about bTB transmission between badgers and cattle at Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire. Experts have been looking hard at this, and have already given insightful advice to challenge the claims. Expect more on this early in the New Year. Dedicated experts work together against a sea of officialdom, prejudice, poor science and poor journalism.
We would also like to remember at this time of year particularly, all those who are out in the field, attacking the illegal blocking of badger setts and unlawful hunting of wild mammals. Sabotaging crime. We salute you again for your dedication and perseverance.
If you have donated to the legal funds, you have contributed to assist important legal work, and we hope that there will be rewards next year. The Crowd fund has slowly moved to 80% and this is an immense achievement considering this gruelling, expensive and protracted battle. This seasonal message is a huge thank you to all making this work possible in every way.