No return of horror

First published in Letters

HAVING read “Rural voice has to be heard” in the letters column of the Western Telegraph last week, it is very obvious that Eric Howells and Joe Folder are not aware of history and science.

They failed to mention that when the previous Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones, who wished to carry out a badger cull, asked Wales “Do you want to cull badgers” she was told by a large majority in Wales “No”. This answer was based on science, the Independent Scientific Group carried out a ten-year badger test and concluded “a badger cull cannot meaningfully contribute to the control of cattle TB in Britain”.

As for history, Eric Howells and Joe folder appear to be unaware that by the 1970s Bovine TB was brought under control by restricting cattle movement and annual cattle TB testing and not culling any badgers.

History-wise they both should remember that after the 1970s, when Bovine TB in cattle had been reduced from around 40% to less than 1%, without culling badgers, cattle movement and annual testing was slowed down and Bovine TB in cattle began to return.

Unfortunately the government of the day brought in the gassing of badgers. It was cruel and horrific, and there were reports of badgers half-paralysed and of some with their faces and muzzles torn by self- inflicted wounds and it had to be stopped. Surely this horror is not to return to the countryside.

History and science make it very clear that badgers are not the problem of the proliferation of bovine TB, cattle to cattle is. It appears that a section of rural folk wish to convince themselves that modern farming practices and inadequate testing methods are not to blame and have found a convenient scapegoat in the badger.

MICHAEL SHARRATT Badger Watch and Rescue Dyfed Whitland

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