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September 7, 2012

Former Government Scientific Adviser and Wildlife Experts Slam Badger Cull as Unscientific and Horrific in New HSI UK Campaign Video

Humane Society International/United Kingdom

  • Badgers are under threat. Dirk Freder/HSI

London—Large numbers of badgers targeted in the government’s proposed cull could be left maimed and bleeding to death and even disappear altogether from large parts of England, claim expert scientists and naturalists appearing in a new campaign video for Humane Society International/UK.

Chris Cheeseman, former head of wildlife diseases at the Central Science Laboratory, joins naturalist and broadcaster Bill Oddie, veterinarian and Humane Society International/UK Director Mark Jones, and Deputy Head of the RSPCA’s Wildlife Science Department Colin Booty, in a compelling five-minute video called “Kill the Cull, Not the Badgers” launched this week as part of HSI UK’s campaign to stop the proposed slaughter of English badgers.

"The government tries to justify this wildlife massacre by claiming it’s what farmers need to tackle bovine tuberculosis, but the truth is that the wool is being pulled over farmers’ eyes," Jones said. "The evidence is clear that shooting badgers won’t solve the problem of TB in cattle and it’s time that the government realise this. HSI UK’s new campaign video allows the public to hear the truth direct from the experts – this will be an unscientific and ultimately unsuccessful policy in which thousands of badgers are going to lose their lives simply because the government is unwilling or unable to reform farming practices."

Key quotes from “Kill the Cull, Not the Badgers”:

  • Bill Oddie:
    "Some of those animals are going to get maimed and they will bleed to death, they will probably crawl underground and die. It is truly an horrific situation."
     
  • Chris Cheeseman:
    "This government claims that their policy is science-led but I’m afraid it’s not ... [it] could lead to the deaths of -- using their figures – up to 130,000 badgers over a few years to achieve an overall, at best, 16 percent reduction in cattle TB. Now there are those of us in the scientific community who actually think it [the cull] will make it worse, and I suggest that’s an unacceptable policy."
     
  • Colin Booty:
    "There’s an ethical question about whether one believes it’s right that badgers over large parts of western Britain should be virtually eliminated from huge swathes of the British countryside."

HSI UK is one of the leading organisations opposing the proposed badger slaughter. As part of the 'Team Badger' coalition, HSI UK is urging supporters to write to the Prime Minister and urge a reversal of policy.

HSI UK has also gathered high-profile support for its official complaint to the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention), to which the UK is a signatory and under which badgers are listed as a species worthy of protection. Recently a host of famous names including Chris Packham, Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Jilly Cooper and Mark Carwardine, signed an open letter urging the government to delay its plans to allow for Bern to consider HSI UK’s complaint.

ENDS

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins, +44(0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

Click here to watch and download HSI UK’s “Kill the Cull” video.

Click here to read our open letter to DEFRA signed by wildlife experts and celebrities.

Click here to email Prime Minister David Cameron and download our badger infographic.

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Humane Society International/UK and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsiuk.org.

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