Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Thousands to Boycott Welsh Dairy

Consumers asked by Viva! to avoid dairy products to save badgers

Release date: 
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

OVER two thousand* animal lovers have already pledged to avoid Welsh dairy products ahead of a boycott by campaigning animal group Viva!.

The boycott is in response to today's decision by the Welsh Assembly to press ahead with a five year slaughter of badgers in parts of Wales, in a misguided effort to curtail the spread of bovine TB. Badgers will be trapped, caged and then shot, even though the largest study of its kind into TB said that killing badgers would not work to stem the disease**.

The number of people signing up to boycott Welsh dairy is expected to grow significantly in the coming weeks, resulting in consumer action which may currently cost the Welsh dairy industry well in excess of £1.5 million annually - and could run into the many millions***.

Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, said that the boycott was not anti-Welsh nor anti-Wales, as many people from within the country were supporting it. He continued, “There was worry that the 'cull' would result in a backlash. Well, it was a worry that was well founded. People are angry that they have not been listened to; they are angry that the science that shows that killing badgers will not halt the spread of TB has been ignored; and they are angry that Welsh Assembly hired hit men are soon going to be riding roughshod over parts of the country.

“There is also growing anger that Welsh wildlife will be exterminated in parts of the country to prop up a failing dairy industry. People are now recognising that inept farming policies and rural politicians that know which side of the bread is buttered on have colluded to scapegoat the badger, whilst refusing to acknowledge their own failings.

“The science tells us that killing badgers won't stem the spread of bovine TB, yet the slaughter has been now rubber stamped. People also realise that they are being taken for a ride, as stringent cattle measures also accompany the 'cull' meaning that no firm conclusions will be forthcoming. The Welsh 'cull' is a sham - and people are waking up to that.

“Politicians have ignored consumers at their peril. They didn't listen to science; they didn't listen to common sense; they didn't listen to the thousands that replied to the public consultation. A major backlash against the Welsh dairy industry is now on the cards - and Viva! will be at the forefront.

Notes to Editors

* Viva!'s Facebook group has 1,059 member and 1,258 people have signed Viva!'s petition to boycott Welsh dairy.

** The Independent Scientific Group (ISG) conducted a ten year study on bovine TB.

*** No figures seem to exist for the average spend on dairy throughout the UK, but in Ireland the average yearly spend per household was €774 (£662) in 2008 (Source: The Meat Site).

Click here for quotes from Welsh residents supporting the boycott of Welsh dairy products.

View Viva!'s fully referenced report on TB and 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.

For more information about this media release, contact press officer Helen Rossiter by emailing press@viva.org.uk or calling 0117 944 1000 or contacting campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell on the same number or by emailing justin@viva.org.uk.