THE chief executive of a wildlife conservation charity has condemned the Government’s decision to press ahead with a badger cull in some parts of the south west of England.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Ed Green says the pilot cull, which it is hoped will curb the spread of bovine tuberculosis into cattle, is bad news for the countryside and says the trust is ‘outraged and dismayed’ at the decision.
He said: “This is a dark day for our wildlife and countryside.
“It is a tragedy that badger culling is going ahead despite the weight of both scientific evidence and public opinion against them.”
The charity is about to start its own badger vaccination programme and has appealed for donations to support the work, which is being co-ordinated by conservation manager Tim Birch
Mr Birch said: “We are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB causes in our farming community.
“We are landowners ourselves and also work closely with farmers who graze our nature reserves.
“But culling is not the answer – we support alternative methods such as badger and cattle vaccination and improved biosecurity.
“We have had a great response to our appeal so far with more than £41,000 now donated, but we would encourage people to keep giving and showing their support for our programme and our badgers.”
Meanwhile deputy police and crime commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has issued a statement reminding people that in Derbyshire, badgers remain a protected species.
He said: “Whatever is happening elsewhere, the deliberate killing of a badger is a crime in Derbyshire, Like other forms of wildlife and rural crime, those caught will be arrested and prosecuted.”