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June 6, 2013

Battle to Protect Our Badgers Goes On

Humane Society International/UK

  • The badger cull could begin any day. Stuart Matthews

by Mark Jones

The badger cull has attracted huge opposition from many of the country’s top scientists, animal welfare groups, the public and many parliamentarians.

Yesterday, a motion put forward in the House of Commons calling for the badger cull to be abandoned was narrowly defeated by 49 votes.

Despite pressure from party whips, more than a dozen Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs defied the government’s wishes and voted with colleagues from other parties in favour of abandoning the cull. However, at the end of the three-hour debate, the motion was lost by 299 votes to 250 (see how MPs voted).

The vote, which the government was obviously keen to win in light of its much-heralded but heavily opposed badger cull policy, was about politics, not badgers. We, and our colleagues in from other organisations, heard from many MPs unable or unwilling to vote against the party whip despite their conscience telling them that a badger cull is unjustified.

The cull has attracted great opposition from members of the public: more than 245,000 people have signed Brian May’s Stop the Cull e-petition to date.

Our concerns about the animal welfare implications of the proposed badger culls have been borne out by the recent revelations about the suffering likely to be endured by badgers during the trial culls and how the data to assess “humaneness”, which could be used to signal the deaths of up to 130,000 badgers, has not yet been made public.

The battle to protect our badgers goes on, and we will continue to work to show how this cull does not make any sense—scientifically, financially or ethically.

Learn more about our badger campaign.

Mark Jones is executive director of Humane Society International/UK.

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