From the letters page of the Bournemouth Echo (10th May 2013)

I would like to inform wildlife-loving readers of the Daily Echo of the government’s plans to use Dorset as a ‘reserve’ in their planned cull of badgers.

Many may have believed the plans to slaughter thousands of badgers had been consigned to the scrapheap but this isn’t the case; it is set to begin in earnest in June, to be trialled in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

This is despite evidence that suggests the badger may not be the guilty party in spreading the horrendous disease Bovine Tuberculosis (bTb); they may well in fact be the victim and are catching TB from cattle!

Various countries around the world have a bTb problem. In New Zealand, for example, the introduced possum is blamed for its spread and in the USA deer are implicated.

We don’t have possums here in the UK but we do have deer – lots of them. So, what are we to do when this cull has proved to be ineffective? Turn the guns on them? Mice, rats, cats and birds are also thought to spread the disease – are these also next for the chop?

Jersey and the Isle of Man have no badgers but they have bTb. However, this government has a happy knack of ignoring awkward truths and reams of research from scientists and world renowned naturalists because it doesn’t want to face the prospect of yet another embarrassing u-turn and so it sees fit to ‘cleanse’ our countryside of this beautiful and iconic animal.

Indeed, environment secretary Owen Paterson has described any opposition to the slaughter as “sad sentimentality”.

Dorset prides itself on its diverse wildlife and it is a great attraction and draw to the many that holiday here. It would be a terrible, bloody stain on this county’s image if the cull was trialled here.

I’m sure the hard-pressed hotelier and caravan park trade could well do without the bad press and boycotts planned for Somerset.

I hope nature lovers countywide make their feelings known before the badger has to pay the ultimate price all for the sake of a few politicians’ pride.


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From the letters page of the Bournemouth Echo (14th May 2013) a reader replies to my article. The ‘name and address supplied’ says it all…

The badger cull is not a mistake, it is long overdue. I speak as a keen naturalist.

Lee Connor, in Friday’s Echo, gives a lot of space to an emotional rant against the government and claims a wealth of scientific evidence and brings forward a lot of spurious facts to argue against a badger cull. He, and many like him, need to cut through the emotion and anti-Tory rhetoric and face facts. Badgers are a massive reservoir for TB in the wild and create a huge bill paid for by taxpayers for compensation to farmers. Also, their numbers are beginning to escalate greatly to the detriment of other wildlife.

Does Mr Connor not realise that in a natural environment all wild animals are predated upon and this controls their numbers? In the world we have created no such predators exist so we have a duty to control pest species however cuddly they may appear; controlling is not cleansing. Less emotional politicking and more realism please.