Badger cull must NOT go ahead

East Sussex will lose one of its most loved wild animals in the county if the NFU and DEFRA decide to issue a license to kill thousands of badger across East Sussex, centred on the Ouse and Cuckmere valleys.

The 2002 Saltdean Badger Campaigner and local wildlife rescuer, Trevor Weeks, is joining and supporting a campaign to stop this badger cull from going ahead. The campaign is launched by Badger Trust Sussex, and Trevor says this campaign is vital to stop DEFRA from undertaking another wasted slaughter of badgers using tax payers money.

"DEFRA were stupid enough to think they could get away with a cull of badgers at Saltdean back in 2002 and working with the Badger Trust we solved the problem without the need for unnecessary destruction of animal life" said Trevor Weeks, "now the NFU think they can ignore the science and cull thousands of badgers."

The Badger Trust has found out that the NFU intend to apply for a Licence to cull badgers in East Sussex and up to five other areas, immediately the Government lift the moratorium currently in place.

"In 2006 public consultation into badger culling held by DEFRA had 47,000 written responses of which 95% opposed a cull of badger" said Trevor, "the governments Independent Scientific Group took 10 years to produce their report on badger culling. Their report concluded that badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the future control of TB in Britain."

Whilst badgers can carry bovine TB, the Badger Trust Sussex says "the science shows they probably caught it from cattle in the first place. Science also shows that better TB testing of cattle will put the disease into reverse and rapidly bring it under control. The scientists believe that TB should then also decline in badgers. This strategy is good news for tax-payers, who currently compensate farmers even if their cattle catch TB from other cattle because farmers have failed to follow basic biosecurity advice" said Badger Trust Sussex representative Pat Hayden.

Bovine TB can infect goats, llamas, pigs and a wide variety of wildlife including voles, rabbits and weasels. Deer are particularly susceptible to the disease but the Government has never investigated whether the large number of deer in East Sussex could be involved in maintaining bovine TB - not that the Badger Trust would support a cull of deer either.

"The NFU claim that they will only kill sick badgers but it is impossible to tell the difference between a sick badger with TB and a healthy one", said Trevor, "it would be more productive if government and farmers started looking at cattle to cattle infection. Farmers should be forced to test their cattle before moving them."

Trevor Weeks is calling on all the people who helped at the Saltdean Badger demonstrations and those who care about badgers to help stop this barbaric and unjustified cull. " Please do not let this government sponsored murder go ahead, please write to Hilary Benn MP and Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Affairs as well as your local MP. Also please write to the local farms in the Ouse and Cuckmere Valley to ask them not to cull the badgers. We already know that 16 farmers have agreed to help support the cull if its goes ahead" said Trevor, "this is important we need your help and if it takes a campaign like the Saltdean Badger Campaign then that is what we will do."

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Press Contacts: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex Wildlife Rescue - 07931 523958 and Jeff & Patt Hayden, Badger Trust Sussex - 01342870 320.

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