Yesterday in the House of Commons, Stephen Lloyd, Independent MP for Eastbourne said the following: “Given the extended roll-out, it is estimated that about 150,000 badgers will have been culled by the end of 2020. This animal, which has been around since the ice age, faces extinction in various parts of the country.”
Given that 67,000 badgers have already been killed since 2013, presumably we can expect around 83,000 more to be killed before the end of next year. And what is being used to justify all this culling? Well there’s the much quoted Brunton et al. 2017 paper, whose statistical modelling produced a theoretical benefit in Tb reduction, along with the less quoted caveat ‘’it would be unwise to use these findings to develop generalizable inferences about the effectiveness of the policy at present.”
And now apparently there is another computer modelling paper Downs et al, currently waiting for publication. This too, apparently, will show a theoretical benefit in Tb reduction in Gloucestershire and Somerset. This will come as a surprise to those looking at the actual number of new herd breakdowns, and seeing a huge spike in Gloucestershire in 2018.
Will ‘Downs 2019’ heavily adjust too and caveat in the small print? These adjustments are made in an attempt to nullify factors other than badger culling which have not been ‘controlled’ for on the ground. How could they have been controlled? This is not a scientific experiment, it’s an industry led culling exercise, and no amount of adjustments will be able to give a conclusive ‘cause and effect’ result.
So how will anyone be able to say badger culling has worked or not? Simple truth is they will not. The result is that there is no ‘off’ button – Plan A is to cull forever. New herd breakdowns could go down, stay the same, or go up (as they have in Gloucestershire) and government could go on claiming a need for badger culling, which they will continue to endorse.
Please help up to fight badger culling with legal action. Without a change in government, we believe it is the only way to seek a change in this shocking policy.