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RSPCA calls for boycott of milk from badger cull zones

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA

Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA

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The RSPCA has called on consumers to boycott milk from cull areas saying the products would be "soaked in badgers' blood".

The animal welfare charity has launched a campaign against the cull, which is to take place across farms in West Somerset, alongside a coalition of like-minded groups.

Gavin Grant, the chief executive of the RSPCA, also called on tourists to avoid cull areas claiming that landowners should be made to feel the "commercial consequences" of allowing the cull on their land. "Those who care will not want to visit areas or buy milk from farms soaked in badgers' blood," Mr Grant said.

"Dairy consumers should be saying 'I will not buy milk from areas where they are culling'. Landowners and farmers allowing this to happen on their land have to realise there will be commercial consequences."

Brian May, the Queen guitarist and head of the group Save Me, has said he would not drink milk from "the moment that the first badger is shot". An eleventh hour bid to stop the trial cull, which is also taking place in Gloucestershire, has now been launched by an alliance of 18 of the UK's leading animal welfare groups. It is aiming to gather 100,000 signatures to force a parliamentary petition on the matter. Campaigners are also taking their case to Europe, arguing that the shooting of badgers breaks the Bern Convention which protects EU wildlife.

A spokesman for the National Farmers' Union in the South West said: "Obviously this is something they feel strongly about and they are quite entitled to express their opinion, although talk of a boycott seems like an empty gesture."

He added: "Often the RSPCA wishes to work with farmers, on farming for wildlife and agri-environment schemes. Coming out behind a boycott may come back to haunt them when they are looking for farmers' support."

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  • kirijgreen  |  March 15 2013, 6:59PM

    Ugh how did i get a dog picture on my post?!!

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  • kirijgreen  |  March 15 2013, 6:57PM

    @ Charlspeck. Hello again. I think you might have confused the UK with Canada. The UK cattle have never been declated 'TB Free' and in fact we were in the middle of the 'Clean Ring' badger cull at that time. Canada declared their herds TB free on Sept 19th 1985. The only cull in the UK seen to reduce TB locally and not increase it in surrounding areas was this clean ring trial. This trial was so effective as it removed 100% of badgers on the infected farm, tested them for TB and if a positive was found, the next 'ring' of badger setts around the farm was targetted. The proposed cull intends to blindly remove 70% of badgers, not 100%, across a large area. ....... There is no scientific evidence yet to show such a cull could decrease cattle TB. That's why it's a trial. Badger culling continued through the 1980s, though surprisingly TB increased. Maybe there were just more cattle? I think you will also find the badger groups have done extensive research and they do not deny facts. The badger groups do not deny that after several years badger culling 'may' reduce TB by up to 16%. They just think there are better, more sustainable, more cost effective ways to control cattle TB which incidentally protect badgers at the same time. Also, if the badger vaccine is so pointless why are FERA funding it and Wales trailing it? I think we need to look at a wider approach to the issue. If cattle controls were so good then why is it a friend of mine who is a farmer has told me that she had a cow recently slaughtered after a positive TB test. This cow had been tested as 'possible' due to the ineffective nature of the TB test, and not isolated from the herd but instead just retested 6 weeks later, positive and slaughtered. My friend is now terrified it has spread within the herd, but they are not scheduled to be tested for a year....

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  • Charlespk  |  September 25 2012, 7:32PM

    I heard the badgers had been caught stealing the cat's food at a farm on Dartmoor. http://tinyurl.com/7pfvj7p (open in a new window) And they've been having trouble with mice! http://tinyurl.com/cvfk6f (open in a new window)

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  • happygutz  |  September 25 2012, 7:14PM

    the price of shares in armaments is going up all the time..

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  • Charlespk  |  September 25 2012, 6:40PM

    The European Commission has warned UK Governments they need to show greater long-term commitment to tackling the problem of bovine TB (bTB) in wildlife. In a report seen by Farmers Guardian this week, the Commission insists there is 'no scientific evidence' badger vaccination will work, compared with the 'considerable evidence' badger removal will improve the TB status of both badgers and cattle. Brussels officials warn the Welsh TB eradication plan has been 'disrupted' and will 'lose impetus' as a result of the decision taken this year to opt for vaccination over culling. It called on UK politicians to 'commit to a long-term strategy' that transcends party politics and fear of what voters might think. The European Commission co-funds TB eradication policies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to the tune of €32 million a year. Earlier this year, it sent a delegation over to the UK to ensure the money is being spent effectively and should continue to be paid. The RSPCA have been discredited for years and have been completely politicised which is totally against their 'Charitable Status'. Gavin Grant is another whose position should now be questioned. Time to go Mr. Grant. . You are not a fit person for the post.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 25 2012, 4:38PM

    @dodge102 Is there anybody there? you need to change your untruthful blurb...you don't need to get 100,000 'cause you already got 114,000. Just goes to show you keep telling porky-pies. Coo I don't know, this is not a good sign. :(((((

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  • Charlespk  |  September 25 2012, 4:00PM

    The thing the badger groups cannot seem to accept and now even deny with lies, is the fact that we once conquered this problem by clearing badger setts in the locality of herds and culling any reactor cattle. . The national herd was clear of disease and all herds in the UK were officially designated 'Brucellosis Free' in October 1985. . That is 'all such pathogens'. With the discovery of Streptomycin and other antibiotics and drugs; we thought we had beaten tuberculosis and all the sanatoriums had long been closed. . . Then some in their mistaken wisdom decided the risk from badgers was by then minimal. . With the explosion in the badger population, we can all now see just how 'minimal' that was. The gassing of badgers ceased in the late 1970s and testing of cattle continued. . In 1986, a total of 38,000 herds comprising 3,200,000 cattle were tested, resulting in the slaughter of just 506 cattle that reacted to the test. . The latest position with over 25,000 being slaughtered annually is neither acceptable or sustainable.

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  • dodge102  |  September 25 2012, 3:55PM

    Badger culling is "ineffective", the expert behind the UK's biggest review of the links between badgers and tuberculosis in cattle, said on Monday. Professor Lord John Krebs was the government adviser responsible for the scientific review in the 1990s which found that badgers were a "reservoir" of bovine TB and could transmit the disease to cattle. He called for trial culls, which were then carried out. But he said on Monday the results of the trials showed that culling was "not an effective policy" and would be a mistake." http://tinyurl.com/69sqykf We need 100,000 people to sign now. Please share, tell your friends and sign. We need your help. There are 65,000 people who reach 1.5m friends so please share and sign NOW http://tinyurl.com/bvjp9rv

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  • Charlespk  |  September 25 2012, 3:46PM

    Why BCG does not perform like other Vaccines. In any normal infection the body defence works by production of vast amounts of antibodies. Such antibodies can also be stimulated by ordinary vaccines for all kinds of bacteria and virus diseases and they can be traced in blood which makes diagnosis with various techniques fairly easy. . But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do - because the tubercle bacteria have a waxy coat to which antibodies cannot attach. Tuberculosis therefore causes a so called humoral body defence; that means the very slowly multiplying bacteria are attacked by enzymes and white blood cells mainly. These are killing or even digesting the bacteria by a method called phagocytosis resulting in crumbly pus in the so called tubercles - whole heaps or lumps containing several 1000 to billions of bacteria. This defence is much more unspecific and slower than the usual one by antibodies. . . Any BCG vaccine stimulates this humoral defence only but never prevents an infection; it may keep it on a low scale maybe. There is no other vaccine available and there most probably will never be another one. No matter how many millions more DEFRA invests (I hear of some 30 so far for the Vaccine only) this is nature - which cannot be forced by politics. Dr. Ueli Zellweger MRCVS GST TVL Somerset

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  • badgeryou  |  September 25 2012, 3:42PM

    Badger cull in the interests of no one. Once again a British government has chosen to seek the best possible scientific advice and then ignore it! The licensed killing of badgers in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset could achieve a number of things. It could further advertise the unwelcome existence of bovine tuberculosis in British dairy herds. It could polarise opinion in the countryside and unite political opposition everywhere else. It could cost the farmers involved more than they could gain. It will almost certainly provoke active protest and put even more pressure on already hard-pressed police forces. What it will almost certainly not do is limit bovine tuberculosis, even in the target zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset. It might be helpful to list those things that are certain. Human tuberculosis is a dangerous disease. Bovine tuberculosis is a real problem for dairy farmers – who in any case have been paid too little for their milk and who have been going out of business for decades – and the disease lives on in the wild badger population. But by 1996, a policy of identification and slaughter had reduced the incidence of bovine TB in dairy herds in England and Wales to less than half a per cent, and the risk of direct transmission to humans has – with the pasteurisation of milk – long ago become negligible. The last and most systematic examination of the link between badgers and bovine TB found that, indeed, there was transmission, and proposed a series of systematic, randomised controlled trials over a sustained period to see whether culling could provide an answer. In 2003, the government, farmers, public health officers and wildlife campaigners got the answer: shooting and gassing did not eliminate, and could possibly spread, the disease. That may be because badgers disturbed in one area could migrate, taking the infection with them. The answer, delivered by Lord Krebs and the distinguished statisticians and zoologists who examined the results, could hardly be clearer: killing will not solve the problem. Lord Krebs's scientific credentials are not in doubt. He was trusted by successive British governments to head the Natural Environment Research Council, and to chair the Food Standards Agency. And he has just described the latest plan as a "crazy scheme". http://tinyurl.com/bvjp9rv

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