Oliver Letwin MP voices support for ‘crime against wildlife’ as the badger cull starts in Dorset

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The badger cull HAS NOW STARTED HERE IN DORSET this September 2015.

Here is an open letter from Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare’s Karin Snellock to West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin, which is being widely circulated:

Dear Mr Letwin

I have just returned from my first night of walking the Dorset lanes and footpaths in preparation for the imminent badger cull.

I, along with very many other ordinary Dorset residents, are so appalled and saddened by this prospect that we feel compelled to raise our heads above the parapet and stand up for our beleaguered wildlife. We would much rather be going about our usual business, but we need to focus everyone’s attention on what is happening here.

As one of our Dorset MPs, you should be representing the interests of the majority of your constituents, who polls show to be against this cull. Instead, you are backing a government which seems hell-bent on ignoring evidence from just about everyone – scientific advisors, the BVA, wildlife experts – and pushing ahead with this disastrous policy.

The fact that the incidence of bovine TB in Dorset  is already falling dramatically – by 35per cent over the last two years – has been conveniently ignored.

In yesterday’s Guardian, three senior scientists, who between them produced two decades of government research into controlling badgers to reduce bovine TB, called for an immediate halt to the cull.

Professor Lord Krebs, Professor John Bourne and Professor Ranald Munro all stress “the central importance of cattle-to-cattle transmission in the spread of bovine TB”. Professor Bourne  has accused Defra of “either ignoring, cherry picking or purposefully misrepresenting the science” on badger culling.

The pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have already proved to be cruel, divisive and most importantly ineffective. Killing an animal for no good reason makes it a crime against wildlife, and I feel your government’s actions in ignoring all advice to the contrary and ploughing ahead with this places you all firmly into this category.

When this policy fails to bring about the desired results, as it surely will, I hope you will be held accountable for your actions, not just against badgers but also for offering farmers a placebo instead of real, effective, help.

Until a vaccine for cattle (always seemingly a mystical 10 years away) is approved, there is no way bovine TB can be eradicated. In the meantime, increased bio-security, tighter controls on the  movement of cattle and stricter cattle testing measures have been shown to be very effective. Figures for Wales clearly demonstrate that these can make a real difference.

Culling badgers will not, a fact that will become only too apparent once you and your like minded colleagues in the Conservative Party have done your best to remove one of our best loved and most iconic animals from the British countryside.

Yours sincerely,
Karin Snellock

Click here to view the article published in the Dorset Echo >>

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