Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Statement in response to decision to 'cull' badgers in Wales

Release date: 
Friday, January 15, 2010

ANIMAL group Viva! has hit out at the obscene decision by the Welsh Assembly to go-ahead with plans for a badger 'cull' in West Wales as part of a misguided campaign to wipe out bovine TB. The group has been campaigning against "cull' proposals since June 2008, which has included a National Rally for Badgers, when over 300 people gathered peacefully on the steps of the Welsh Assembly's Debating Rooms to voice objection. Viva! founder & director, Juliet Gellatley, says: "It is an extremely sad day when the Welsh Assembly agree to the mass genocide of these beautiful wild creatures, in a decision which can only be described as barbaric, disgusting and unfounded. "Despite repeated correspondence from Viva!, the Welsh Assembly has refused to listen to scientific reason on this matter. The largest study ever into bTB shows that killing badgers would make no significant difference to the spread of the disease*, so it is unbelievable they are pressing ahead with decimating wildlife in Pembrokeshire. "It appears Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones is intent on sacrificing wildlife in a cynical attempt to safeguard the seats of rural politicians, by appeasing the farming community." For more information about Viva!'s campaign against the "cull" of badgers in Wales, visit www.viva.org.uk/badgers ENDS For more information about this media release and to arrange an interview with Juliet Gellatley, contact press officer Helen Rossiter by emailing press@viva.org.uk or calling 0117 944 1000, mobile 0794 453 3021. Notes to Editors *The Independent Scientific Group (ISG) conducted a ten year study on bTB. The decision in Wales is despite Hilary Benn (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) announcing recently that a non-lethal capture-and-inoculate policy for badgers would be tested in England next summer in six TB hotspots. Regardless of also receiving over 12,000 postcards in opposition to the plans from Viva! supporters and a petition signed by 3,700 residents in North Wales, the Welsh Assembly has pressed ahead with plans for a trial "cull' that could kill around 1,000 badgers. Viva! has been campaigning against "cull" proposals since June 2008, which has included a National Rally for Badgers, when over 300 people gathered peacefully on the steps of the Welsh Assembly's Debating Rooms to voice objection. Visit http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/badgers/rally to see pictures from the event or visit http://blip.tv/file/1056824 to view a short film. The group also held a National Day of Action in Wales on September 20, 2008 against the "cull'. The group maintains the farming industry should look closer to home to identify the cause of the bovine TB epidemic. On February 11, 2009, The National Farmers Union (NFU) was banned from repeating an advertisement placing sole blame on badgers for the spread of bovine TB by the Advertising Standards Agency. Viva!'s campaign is supported by Welsh AMs Lorraine Barrett (Cardiff South and Penarth) and Trish Law (Blaenau Gwent). Quotes are available from them and from celebrities including Twiggy, Joanna Lumley, Wendy Turner-Webster, Benjamin Zephaniah and Rose Elliot. A fully referenced Viva! fact sheet on badgers and bTB can be read on-line at http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/badgers/factsheet.htm