Somerset Wildlife Trust opposes badger cull

Somerset Wildlife Trust is taking part in a protest march against the Government’s badger cull and calling upon its 18,000-strong membership and supporters to join them.

The charity’s staff and volunteers will be among those who gather in Taunton’s Vivary Park and march through the town centre, this Saturday (August 15).

Leading them will be the Trust’s chief executive, Simon Nash who said: ‘Somerset Wildlife Trust is firmly opposed to the badger cull and no Wildlife Trust will allow culling on its land.

‘That has been our position on the issue of bovine TB (bTB) for more than a decade.

‘Now, as West Somerset approaches a third year of culling and the Government considers extending this unnecessary programme to other areas, the need for the voices of our members to be heard has never been stronger.

‘I would like to see as many of them as possible to join us on this protest march, speaking out against a wasteful and wholly misguided policy that has no scientific basis.’

The Trust manages 1,700 hectares of Somerset’s countryside and works closely with the farming community.

‘We are very conscious of the hardship that bTB causes and the need to find an effective, long-term, sustainable solution,’ Simon added.

‘But culling badgers is not the answer.

‘Research shows that culling doesn’t significantly reduce outbreaks of the disease in cattle and can even make the situation worse, due to the perturbation effect where the disease is spread by badgers moving between setts post-cull.

‘Cattle-to-cattle transmission represents the most important route of disease spread, so the Government’s strategy to eradicate bTB should be focused on a vaccination programme ­ for cattle and badgers ­ and biosecurity measures.

‘We are proud to stand up and be counted as part of a broad coalition of organisations and individuals ­ including many farmers ­ opposing the cull through peaceful protest.’

Organised by the Badger Trust, the march begins in Taunton’s Vivary Park at 1pm on Saturday August 15.

For further information regarding Somerset Wildlife Trust’s position on eradicating bovine TB visit: www.somersetwildlife.org/bovinetb