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Devon-based farmers association believes gassing is a 'humane way' to cull badgers

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

Comments (8)

The Family Farmers’ Association is calling for a more humane approach to the badger cull in its winter newsletter, just published.

The Devon-based organisation says it is waiting “with some anxiety” for the independent panel’s reports into the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of the two pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

That report, which is already overdue, is now expected in March and could trigger the roll-out of further culls in bovine TB hotspot areas, including Devon and Cornwall.

But the FFA suggests: “A more scientific solution which we, and many others, have advocated all along, would seem more effective and more humane. That is, as we have said so many times, to identify sick badgers and put their complete sett painlessly to sleep with car exhaust fumes.”

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The organization, which represents smaller family farmers, also calls for a reversal of the Badger Act which currently outlaws badger control. “Surely the police could prevent illegal badger baiting at a more modest cost [than the cost of the culls]? Farmers and gamekeepers would then remove badgers who were a nuisance at no cost to the public,” the newsletter suggests.

The FFA calls into question the method for counting the badgers before the cull in the two cull zones. “An exact count of badgers, even in one extensive sett, would seem to be a tall order,” it concludes.

The future of badger culling is likely to come to a head over the coming days, in the wake of the two-day NFU conference which closes this afternoon in Birmingham.

The FFA says: “There must be a serious attempt to stop the relentless march of Mycobacterium bovis across Britain for everybody’s sake – cattle, farmers, badgers, hedgehogs, ground nesting birds, hares, frogs and wild bees. There is a report that the Labour Party’s attitude in parliament has softened and their spokesman has said they could accept the culling of sick badgers if science showed it was necessary. Defra is gradually leaking more information about other domestic animals which have been infected with bTB.”

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  • Charlespk  |  March 25 2014, 1:22PM

    Anyone who seriously believes that a long drawn out death from tuberculosis is preferable to a death from gassing for any animal in the wild, is in serious need of some education. . Reactors that had to be slaughtered and all the associated misery, after gassing ceased and badgers were protected, increased by 10,000% and is still 7,000% higher. . . . In 1981 The Zuckerman Report stated that badgers were a source of TB and culling was necessary. However, gassing in the sett with cyanide, then used, was banned as it was thought to be inhumane. . Gassing was permitted under The Conservation of Wild Creatures and Wild Plants Act 1975. . This was never actually conclusively proven. . It was just AR conjecture. . The alternative has been a thousand times worse and in the light of the latest trials, gassing will have to resume. . . . This is the REAL unvarnished science about badgers. The INDISPUTABLE, historically accurate, scientific facts. http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy (open in a new window)

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  • newactivist  |  February 28 2014, 11:05AM

    Gassing badgers was banned in the 1980's as being totally inhumane and unacceptable. There are graphic reports of the agony endured by badgers killed in this particularly inhumane way. The IEP leaked report has shown the pilot culls to be inhumane. Freedom of Information requests spell out the agony a protected species endured at the hands of incompetent so called marksmen. The rules were broken with impunity and no biosecurity rules were followed, further risking those farms that the cullers operated on. This has to stop. Come up with a humane way of stopping factory farming infecting the indigenous wildlife of this country and stop saying that cattle vaccine is 10 years away.

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  • Onegoodturn  |  February 26 2014, 8:25PM

    If anyone actually believes gassing wild animals is ' humane ' and 'scientific' then they clearly have done no research on the subject. This is an appalling, protracted and very frightening way to kill a wild animal and quite shocking that it should even be considered. Perhaps if the farmers are truly concerned about the spread of bTB they should ban the hunts, horses, dogs, quad bikes, foot followers from their land? This is a serious potential risk having hordes of hounds horses etc trampling all over various fields and spreading who knows what? There is a link between bTB hotspots and heavily hunted areas so this should be a real consideration, that is if the farmers are really prepared to stop the spread of bTB at all costs??

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  • Onegoodturn  |  February 26 2014, 8:19PM


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  • Ludmilla  |  February 26 2014, 4:44PM

    This whole fiasco has been helped by country sports advocates and their friends in government like Simon Hart/Owen Paterson. The tirade to stop the RSPCA from prosecuting and promote shooting by killing raptors and badgers, anything that might hit their prey is cruel and could lead to animals in other tragic situations not being given any protection, MPS who are pro cull use their status as a platform yet those who support RSPCA anti cull are complained about, gagged from having an opinion even if wildlife experts themselves? Why don't the police take prosecutions of hunting lawbreakers as seriously as innocent people trying to stop the cull? Taken from Telegraph article 'RSPCA decided to take the case on itself because the CPS had a track record of spending months looking at potential prosecutions before deciding there was insufficient evidence and dropping them. Mr Grant also revealed that the charity spends £5 million a year prosecuting cruelty cases, and said that people who broke the law on hunting ought to face prison terms' http://tinyurl.com/pb2o5ds http://tinyurl.com/ovlfg7q http://tinyurl.com/ohup8r9

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  • groundnut  |  February 26 2014, 2:00PM

    It is perhaps slightly refreshing to note the FFA voice to a more humane path to badger killing. Unfortunately it does not stop at humane or science based. It proceeds on to Gassing of Setts, with car fumes. It also advocates removing the protected status of Badgers. Unfortunately the illegal killing of Badgers and other Wildlife is on the increase. As is the so called sport killing on large shooting estates. Where illegal killing is also taking place of those Birds and mammals considered to interfere with profit. It is also worth pointing out that the shooting mercenaries have already grouped together. Even before ANY report on the last cull or other details of that cull have been published by DEFRA. And even before waiting for the Welsh government to publish its report on year 2013. So far even in spite of the AHVLA computer glitch. The progress in Wales has been impressive. The killing exercise by DEFRA /NFU/ Natural England by comparison was political, and totally lacking in Science. It is clear that it is not the intention of those parties involved to participate in Humane science. The vested and Political interests beam through. The pathway is not towards any humane science based solution to BTB. It is a first and foremost a wildlife killing exercise. Yes there is a need (recognised by all) to stop the spread of BTB. Wales has already shown a way through humane science. England has wasted time and money on the Politics. Whilst all the Public support any humane science based way forward towards the eradication of BTB. When they look behind the secrecy, methodology and the Politics. They will be able to see the obvious signs of vested interests and totally unacceptable Politics.

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  • ndg123  |  February 26 2014, 12:14PM

    electric fencing..... just a thought

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  • DougBrett  |  February 26 2014, 10:23AM

    Gassing humane!?! Farmers only interested in money. They care nothing for wildlife. Don't kill badgers, innoculate them. The cattle too.