Pic: The Independent
Brian May has launched a badger vaccination funding appeal to bolster support for alternatives to the cull.
The Queen guitarist hopes to recruit donors and volunteers for a drive to prove that vaccines are a viable alternative and persuade farmers to adopt the method. He hopes to tap into public disquiet about the cull which saw more than 300,000 sign his Downing Street website petition urging a halt.
More than £200,000 has already been pledged by the guitarist and sponsors such as the Lush cosmetics, and the band Hawkwind –who played a charity concert in aid of animal charities last month – have pledged £10,000.
The aim is to generate enough financial backing and volunteers for large-scale five-year programmes across five of the areas worst hit by TB, which are Somerset and Gloucestershire, where pilot culls have been taking place, as well as Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
Vaccination costs around £120 per badger, the Badger and Cattle Vaccination Initiative (BACVI) says, with costs reducing as more volunteers are found.
One of the criticisms that has been levelled at those of us who have been trying to save badgers for the last three years is that ‘something has to be done and you are advocating nothing’,” said May.
“Well we are advocating something very, very positive. It seems that what is being done at the moment is actually making things worse. Vaccination is, in the end, the only way of eradicating the disease. We hope all those people genuinely in search of a solution will put aside their differences to support BACVI.”
About 2,000 people held a rally in London yesterday as licences to cull badgers came into force in two areas.
Up to 5,094 badgers can now be culled in west Somerset and west Gloucestershire. Groups of farmers in the two pilot zones have been given licences to conduct culls using trained marksmen to shoot the animals.
The rally was led by ex-Queen guitarist, Brian May, who delivered a near-250,000 signature petition to Downing Street calling for the cull to be scrapped. He said: “The great bit of new information is it has now been demonstrated that the cull cannot make economic sense. It will lose the taxpayer money rather than save it.
“That was really the last shred of reason that you could give for this cull going ahead. It is a very good time for Mr Cameron to reconsider and withdraw from this monstrous cull, in the public interest.”
Posted in Badgers, Nature, Wildlife
Tagged animal welfare, badgers, Brian May, campaigns, conservation, countryside, David Cameron, Parliament, petitions
Alex Moorehead's Photography Blog
March 1st 2013 marked the beginning of the 3 week ‘tiger tracks’ programme at St Pancras International station in London. The idea of the event being to help raise awareness of tigers in the wild and steps that everyone can take to help keep them from future extinction.
To kick the event off on the stage in the Grand Terrace, we’re none other than Legendary guitarist and song writer Brian May and West End star Kerry Ellis. It started at 6pm and was a free 30 minute piece for anyone in the station to see.
I managed to catch the end of a quick rehearsal about an hour before, so stayed around for 6pm too. Below are some of the images I took at the event.
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Government plans to cull thousands of badgers have been delayed until next summer amid growing concern about the cost and effectiveness of the controversial scheme.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the cull in the south-west of England would have to be delayed because a new survey revealed there were twice as many badgers as previously thought, making the cull too expensive. Farmers felt they could not kill enough badgers before the animals start going underground for the winter. Recent bad weather was also blamed for hampering preparations.
Mr Paterson insisted that the Government was still committed to reducing badger numbers, but said the “optimal time” for the cull had passed. The announcement was welcomed by many leading scientists, who have expressed severe doubts about whether the cull would successfully stop the spread of bovine TB. Lord John Krebs, the architect of a 10-year badger culling trial, called it “mindless” and signed a letter with 31 other eminent scientists demanding the Government reconsider its plan.
Anti-cull campaigners believe the cull is inhumane because the method of shooting could cause suffering to many thousands of badgers. They have called for a vaccination programme along with increased levels of testing. An e-petition, launched by the Queen guitarist Brian May, as part of the Team Badger campaign, attracted more than 160,00 signatures.
RSPCA Chief Executive, Gavin Grant, said the fight to stop the cull would continue and legal challenges were being drafted. “We welcome this postponement, but this must not be a temporary reprieve, but must mark an end to all cull plans,” he said.
I was delighted to read that over 100,000 people have signed a petition against the badger cull, which means the issue could now be debated in Parliament.
The e-petition was launched last week by the Queen guitarist, Brian May, as part of the Team Badger campaign, after the first licence to kill the protected wild animal was issued for a pilot cull in Gloucestershire.
There is widespread anger over the Government’s decision to push ahead with the cull, which campaigners say will be of little use in reducing bovine TB, and could even make it worse in some areas.
Supporters of the cull claim the move is necessary in order to tackle TB in cattle because badgers spread the disease to livestock. But Team Badger is angry that over 70% of the badger population will be killed in large areas of the country and is calling on the Government to implement a vaccination programme, along with improved testing.
Shropshire Wildlife Trust is leading the way. They have started vaccinating badgers against TB and hope their five-year scheme will show that vaccination is a more effective and humane way of controlling bovine TB.