Plans for yet more ineffective badger culls prove our leaders see wildlife as totally expendable, writes Steve Backshall.
The culls are supposed to reduce the spread of TB in cattle.
It's with an unpleasant sense of déjà vu that I write this, but for the fifth year running the time has come round again when the Government allows the killing of thousands of badgers, despite the fact that they're supposedly a protected species.
My relationship with animals is changing every day, and I am certainly guilty of googling dog memes and having a nervous breakdown over a flock of baby ducks. But in order to support the millions of other species we share our planet with, perhaps we should stop treating them like orphaned children that need mothering, and more like other species who just need the space and resources to live healthy (albeit cute) lives.
Following the outbreak of bTB among the hounds of the Kimblewick Hunt near Oxford, reported in the Huffington Post, we have
The badger cull has clearly been a political tool to keep traditionally conservative-voting farmers and farming communities onside. The government have been keen to show that they are doing something to help, that they are taking a strong stance. In reality this is manifesting in violence and cruelty rather than addressing the root cause - modern farming methods.
Before any wildlife intervention is authorised, particularly one which will see a protected native species being blown to pieces in large numbers by gunmen at night in our countryside, there are surely a number of basic criteria that should be satisfied.
It's a New Year, and it's always at this time that people like me get all pensive - thinking about the year just gone and the year ahead. Although many will be thinking of a host of resolutions and changes, new jobs, new diet and the like, for me and many like me my thoughts always relate to animals...
Figures released by DEFRA on 16th December reveal that almost 1500 badgers were shot under license in the cull zones in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset in 2015. This brings the total number of badgers killed to almost 4,000 over the past three years, at a cost to the taxpayer that's probably in the region of £25 million.
In Parliament, Chris Grayling, the Conservative leader of the House of Commons, defended the deluge of announcements when