Tag Archives: welfare

BROCKSTOCK – Thanks for the memories

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To all the performers and people who gave their time and energy to make BROCKSTOCK happen, thank you! We raised hundreds to help protect badgers in Dorset and beyond. Please check out and support all these badger-friendly musicians.

Andrea Kenny (singer from The Brandy Thieves)

andrea kenny

The Diluted

diluted

The High Cs

high cs

Martin John

martin john

Sketch Dog

sketchy dog

Worry Dolls

worry dolls

and of course… Thanks to everyone who came to the show and all those who have supported us through our first year. We will keep fighting for the badgers and hope you will join us.worry dolls goddnight

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BROCKSTOCK! Benefit Concert in Bridport Celebrating Our First Anniversary

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brockstock final

We are celebrating our first anniversary with a special concert called BROCKSTOCK at the Electric Palace in Bridport on Saturday 21 June.  Founded in June 2013, Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare are returning to the town where we held our first ever public event. We’re celebrating a year which has seen the proposed cull of badgers in Dorset abandoned and the rollout of a project which enables farmers and landowners to have the badgers on their land vaccinated against TB rather than culled, at a fraction of the cost of a commercial operation.

Saturday’s stellar line-up boasts a wealth of local talent, with headliners, Worry Dolls, from Bournemouth supported by local favourites Sketchy Dog, Andrea Kelly, Ian Sedwell, The Diluted and The High Cs. The doors open at 7pm with the first act on at 7:30 and the entertainment running until midnight. Tickets, available on the door, are £10 each and all of the money raised will go to protect badgers in Dorset and beyond. There will also be free acoustic performances in the foyer from 1-6pm, along with stalls and a raffle.

It’s been a tremendous year for us. We feared the worst at this time last year, when Owen Patterson was talking about the cull being rolled out to 10 more counties in 2014, with Dorset being top of the list. As it happened, the trial culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire were a disaster, and the independent expert panel labelled them “inhumane” and “ineffective”. We are now focusing on supporting our neighbours in Somerset, who are facing a cull again this year, and trying to ensure as many of Dorset’s badgers are vaccinated as possible.

Badger Defenders Take Over Dorchester

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They gathered in Borough Gardens, first just a few, then dozens and then hundreds, all with one purpose and one voice: to stop the badger cull! The marchers filled the streets of Dorchester, the drums beat time, the town crier announced us and the Badger Trust’s Dominic Dyer explained why we were there. It was a wonderful sight and even better sound as the streets echoed with the refrain “Save Our Badgers, Stop The Cull!” After an hour on the streets we all returned to Borough Gardens for amazing food from Fairfoods and great music for Dorset bands The High C’s and Sketchy Dog. To all those who came and to all those who made it happen, thank you. Together we are an unstoppable force, and we’re only just getting started!

Leaked Report Declares Badger Cull Ineffective and Inhumane

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the newsFollowing a leaked report from the Independent Panel of Experts (IEP) showing that trial badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset had been an abject failure, we are calling for the culls to be abandoned and released this statement:

It was clear months ago that the culls were failing to reach key targets set by the Coalition Government, despite repeated denials by the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, DEFRA and the NFU. Now the Independent Panel of Experts set up by the Government to review the results of the culls have confirmed everything we have been saying.

The IEP concluded that the culls  fell far short of the target numbers of badgers killed, even after extending both culls beyond six weeks, yet Owen Paterson had hailed them as a success. Many leading scientists and wildlife experts believe the failure of the culls could actually worsen the spread of TB. The Panel also found that the culls were not humane. Owen Paterson, without waiting for the Panel to report, claimed months ago that they were. According to Natural England Compliance Monitors some badgers took five minutes or more to die in agony after being shot.

The scientific facts were manipulated to suit the policy. DEFRA has also now admitted that both badger populations and TB rates in cattle were grossly overstated. Badger numbers were falling, not ‘soaring out of control’, which is what the Environment Secretary claimed. The three rotten planks shoring up this ramshackle policy have therefore collapsed.

The cull policy has been shot full of more holes than the unfortunate badgers who needlessly died. It is clearly time to abandon this unjustified and unpopular slaughter and implement other measures which have been found effective elsewhere, such as in Wales where a programme of badger vaccination, tighter bio-security on farms and cattle movements has produced a far more positive result for farmers than the two culls in England did.

In Dorset farmers and land owners have a clear choice, either pay for costly, ineffective and enormously unpopular mass slaughter of badgers, or opt for much cheaper, scientifically proven and humane vaccination of badgers through the Dorset Badger Vaccination Project.

Hey, NFU, Have a Heart for Badgers!

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DBBW at NFUSupporters of Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare, some dressed as badgers, delivered a giant Valentine’s Day card to the Dorchester offices of the National Farmers Union (NFU) urging them to “have a heart for badgers” on Valentines Day.

The NFU are lobbying for a mass cull of badgers, under the guise of preventing the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). Last year trial culls were undertaken in Somerset and Gloucestershire to ascertain if shooting free-running badgers was feasible and “humane”. At present the evidence points to the trials being a shambles, falling far short of their intended targets and causing significant harm to wildlife and local communities alike. Further more, a government-funded 10-year randomised badger culling trial produced clear evidence to show that badgers were not a significant vector for transmitting bTB to cattle and that improved cattle movement controls and biosecurity on farms was the key to managing the disease.

Wildlife and conservation groups as well as progressive farmers are backing humane, effective and scientifically sound vaccination of badgers, with herd immunity achievable in just 5 years. The Dorset Badger Vaccination Project (www.dbvp.org) is offering low-cost badger vaccination to all Dorset farmers and landowners as a cheaper and more effective alternative to culling.

Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare says:

We’re asking the NFU to stop playing political games, to review the scientific evidence which shows culling badgers is a waste of time, and to embrace modern, humane and effective vaccination instead. Having a heart for badgers means recognising that they are an important part of the British countryside, that their welfare and the welfare of cattle requires long term solutions such as vaccination and better farm management practices, not short term appeasements like culling which has been shown will make matters worse for all concerned.

Conservative Councillors Hijack Vote on Badger Cull

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COUNCIL CHEATEDIn the immortal words of Johnny Rotten, ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

Today a motion by Councillor Dan Brember was put before Dorset County Council for debate and a vote. A strongly worded rebuke of government’s badger culling policy and a plea to use a science-based approach to tackle bTB, the motion was always going to raise the hackles of certain councillors. Still, there was hope at least for a vigorous debate and a show of support from those councillors who understood and appreciated the overwhelming scientific consensus that killing badgers is not the solution to addressing TB in cattle. Sadly the Conservative majority had no intention of even allowing this motion to be debated.

Before the debate began, Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare challenged the report from the Director of Environment, which had been sent to all Councillors along with the motion. The question we posed was:

 Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare are a group of local people who oppose the culling of badgers on both moral and scientific grounds and promote vaccination and improved welfare and biosecurity on farms as an effective and humane means of dealing with TB in both cattle and badgers. We support Councillor Brember’s motion to the Council, but take issue with the briefing note in your agenda papers. It suggests that scientific consensus, especially from those involved in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT), supports the current badger culling programme being rolled out by the government. Nothing could be further from the truth. The quotes used in the briefing paper are woefully out of date. Quoted in The Guardian on 13 October 2012, Prof Lord Krebs, architect of the RBCT, states “The scientific case is as clear as it can be: this cull is not the answer to TB in cattle. The government is cherry-picking bits of data to support its case.” We contend that the briefing paper is also cherry-picking data to support the governments case. In addition, lead scientist of the RBCT Professor John Bourne contends that scientific opinion is overwhelmingly against the cull and states, “I just don’t know anyone who is really informed who thinks this is a good idea”. Given that current scientific consensus, especially among those scientists who were behind the £50m ten-year-long Randomised Badger Culling Trial, is now firmly against culling badgers, why is it that the briefing paper appears to paint the opposite picture?

The disappointing reply that came back was, “Given that the cull is being instigated by a government department, it is only right that the evidence used by the government to support its action is presented to the County Council”. Right, no matter whether that ‘evidence’ is based on sound science or not? The Cabinet Member for Environment went on to claim “there is a lack of published data to support the suggestion that culling will not reduce the incidence of bovine TB. It is for that reason that no counter argument is presented”. It’s difficult to know where to begin when dealing with such blatant misinformation, so we’ll leave this for another day, it requires a much fuller, dedicated, post. Back to the “debate”.

No sooner had Dan Brember introduced his motion when Conservative Councillor Hillary Cox proposed an “amendment”. To call this an amendment is like calling the new Council building in Charles Street an annex. This was a gutting that ripped out the heart of the motion and replaced it with straw. Here’s what Councillor Cox proposed:

To delete al words in the motion after “damaging” in line one, ands to substitute the following words in bold:

“This Council recognises the serious and damaging impact which bovine TB has on animal welfare and the economics of farming.

The County Council also recognises that dealing with the problem of bovine TB is a matter for the Government and Parliament at national level and, locally, for the County Council’s tenant farmers under the conditions of their tenancies. 

The Council urges the Government to be led by the best available science in finding a solution to the problems associated with bovine TB and. when implementing a solution, to ensure that it is the most humane available.”

The Chairman then directed Councillors to now only debate and comment on this amendment, which would then be up for a vote. Now it’s important at this stage to point out that Dorset for Badger and Bovine welfare is not party political, but the way this played out was certainly party politics at its worst. The makeup of Dorset County Council is as follows; the Chair, Leader of the Council, Deputy and all Cabinet members are Conservative. There are a total of 27 Conservative Councillors; the total remaining Councillors number 18. Voting as a block, the Conservative Councillors effectively shut out all debate on the most pertinent issues and didn’t allow for the original motion, which had significant non-Conservative support, to get the airing it deserved. The original motion was never even voted on, instead the weakened toothless amended motion was passed, 26 to 12.

Today it wasn’t just badgers, bovines and science that lost out, it was democracy itself.

New Group Vows to Stop Proposed Badger Cull in Dorset

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bridport bbwDorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare Choose Bridport for Inaugural Event

Bridport – Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare, with support from Animal Aid, are holding their first ever public event in Bridport. Aimed at alerting people to the proposed badger cull in Dorset, the group will be leafleting in Buckydoo Square accompanied by Animal Aid’s Badger Battle Bus – a vehicle adorned with banners against the cull and showing a film about the issue.

Dorset is the reserve area for the pilot badger culls – purportedly aimed at reducing TB in cattle –  that are currently under way in Somerset and Gloucestershire. Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Patterson, has recently announced that the cull could be extended to Dorset as early as this year.

Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare recognises the seriousness of bTB and supports the scientific evidence which clearly shows culling badgers is not an effective way to tackle the disease and may even aid its spread. Instead we support alternative, scientifically approved, methods of reducing bovine TB in both badgers and dairy cattle, including vaccination and improved security and welfare on farms.

“This cull goes against the science,” said Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare member Ian Mortimer.  “Evidence from long-term studies demonstrates that killing badgers is not an effective way to tackle bovine TB and may actually make matters worse for dairy farmers. The government are flying in the face of the scientific evidence and are simply engaged in a game of political point-scoring.”

Notes

  • Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare was set up after a Team Badger public meeting in Dorchester in May. Attended by Brian May, the head of the RSPCA Gavin Grant, Dairy framer Steve Jones and the Director of the Humane Society Mark Jones, they urged local people to join the fight against the cull, which is what we have done.
  • The vast majority of animal welfare and conservation groups, as well as the scientists who have studied bTB in cattle and wild animals, are agreed that killing badgers is pointless. Professor John Bourne, who led the 10 year randomised badger culling trial has stated “”Despite some improvements, the government is still going nowhere near far enough with biosecurity. It is not badgers that spread the disease throughout the country; it is cattle”.
  • The badger culls will kill at least 70% of the badgers in the cull zones, but because of uncertainty over existing badger numbers and the difficulty of accounting for wounded badger which go to ground, there is a chance badgers in some areas may be wiped out all together.
  • The stated aim of the current cull is not to find out if killing badgers will reduce bTB, that study has already been done and found that killing badgers is not effective in halting the spread of the disease. Instead the current cull is designed to see if shooting free-running badgers at night with high powered rifles is an effective, “safe” and humane way of killing them.
  • There is already a successful TB vaccine for  badgers, and the Welsh government has initiated programme of vaccination in Wales rather than a cull. The Dorset Wildlife Trust is vaccinating all of the badgers on their land and Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare are in the process of setting up a scheme for all badgers in the county.
  • The EU have set out a 10 year plan to allow the vaccination of the entire British dairy herd, a plan that will effectively and permanently tackle the problem if followed. Sadly, short-term politicking is overshadowing such long-term planning.