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RSPCA faces NFU backlash on cull stance

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 14, 2012

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The RSPCA has been labelled irresponsible for calling on farmers and marksmen involved in South West badger culls next year to be named and shamed.

The National Farmers' Union has hit back at comments made by RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant on the BBC's Panorama about the cull as part of the bovine TB campaign.

During the programme Mr Grant said: "The spotlight of attention will be turned on those marksmen and those who give permission for this cull to take place. They will be named and we will decide whether they will be shamed."

But NFU director of policy Martin Haworth said: "With these comments Mr Grant has overstepped the mark and in doing so confirmed our worst fears that the RSPCA is no longer a responsible organisation with animal welfare at its core. Mr Grant has actively encouraged people to identify farmers and those carrying out the badger culls next year without a thought for their safety, their families' safety or the security of their homes.

"This is tantamount to inciting a campaign of fear and intimidation – which I find wholly unacceptable and completely irresponsible. I am extremely disappointed with the RPSCA's approach to tackling what is one of the most serious issues affecting our beef and dairy herds today.

"This is not just a badger welfare issue, as 34,000 cattle were slaughtered because of TB in 2011. Rather than encouraging the targeting of farmers, the RSPCA should focus its efforts on animal welfare across the board. The majority of experts all agree, a badger vaccination programme in isolation won't solve this crisis, and a cattle vaccine is still years away. In all its rhetoric, the RSPCA has failed to come up with a single workable solution to dealing with this terrible disease."

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  • AtrixMan  |  November 20 2012, 8:42PM

    Clued-up, I'm sure Mr Hill and the BWA would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that his skill and methods will produce a dramatic reduction in the level of bovine TB on cattle farms. And improve the health status of badgers on those farms. Surly we all want to see that!

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  • AtrixMan  |  November 20 2012, 8:24PM

    Bleach, It's all a question of maths. Helping hundreds of farmers over many years is a drop in the ocean when compared to the many thousands of farms that go down with TB every year.

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  • Clued-Up  |  November 20 2012, 3:59PM

    @AtrixMan "The farmer in question is not a self-declared "expert" his expertise has been declared by the hundreds of farmers he has helped over the years...". This "expert" has no relevant professional qualifications, training or experience. He peddles theories that those with the relevant professional qualifications, training and experience know are ill-founded and in conflict with mainstream scientifically tested knowledge about TB and badgers. He hasn't taken the elementary precaution of getting his theories and "experiments" peer-reviewed by independent, accredited scientists. Other farmers may well believe this "expert" - they have no more knowledge than he and are no more capable than he is of assessing the flaws in his pitch. If the BWA was truly a 'welfare association', its members would know that only 1% - 2% badgers are ill themselves because of TB and the concept of an infected sett is erroneous (most animals in that sett will be perfectly healthy). No wildlife welfare association would ever put at risk the well-being of a large group of perfectly healthy animals in an attempt to humanely destroy the one or two individuals within the sett which were ill.

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  • Bleach  |  November 19 2012, 9:22PM

    "There are many things in this world that scientist don't understand. That doesn't mean they're not true or don't work" sigh.

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  • Bleach  |  November 19 2012, 9:20PM

    Well if he's helped so many farmers he's not doing that good a job, is he. What with, you know, BTB being on the increase and everything.

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  • AtrixMan  |  November 19 2012, 8:28PM

    Clued-up, Again you seam to be getting things wrong. The farmer in question is not a self-declared "expert" his expertise has been declared by the hundreds of farmers he has helped over the years to rid their farms of bovine TB. And the BWA an organisation that is dedicated to bringing an end to the suffering of TB infected badgers, as well as aiming to reduce further infection of healthy badgers has every right to call itself a 'welfare association'.

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  • Clued-Up  |  November 19 2012, 11:03AM

    @AtrixMan Re "you seem to believe that farmers shouldn't be allowed to be part of a badger welfare group" - that wasn't my point. I like words to mean what they say. It annoys me that an organisation set up to destroy badgers at the whim of a self-declared "expert" should claim it has anything to do with promoting their welfare.

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  • AtrixMan  |  November 18 2012, 11:14PM

    Badgerhugger There are many things in this world that scientist don't understand. That doesn't mean they're not true or don't work. Remember there once was a time when every scientist was certain that the world was flat!

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  • badgerhugger  |  November 18 2012, 10:52PM

    I don't think you have read a word I have said so I will repeat it. The BWA are not a badger welfare group. They are making ridiculous claims about their ability to identify diseased setts. Please don't be fooled, it cannot be done. They have a right to opinions but nobody has the right to present nonsense as truth and go against all known science.

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  • AtrixMan  |  November 18 2012, 10:24PM

    Clued-Up You seem to believe that farmers shouldn't be allowed to be part of a badger welfare group. Farmers should have as much right as any one else to be part of a badger pressure group. They don't want badgers on their farms suffering from TB and spreading it to healthy badgers or their cattle.They know that having healthy badger on their farm is their best defence against bovine TB. Right now the BWA are the only origination who care about ridding the badger population of this dreadful disease.

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