Skip to content or view screen version

Badgers spared - Thank you ALF!

Anti-speciesist | 04.07.2008 13:08 | Animal Liberation | Ecology | Health

The BBC today reports that DEFRA Secretary of State, Hilary Benn, will announce on Monday that he has decided against a cull of badgers in England to control TB in cattle. If the report is correct, the A.L.F. and its supporters will be relieved that the Secretary of State has finally made a right decision, one that is based on sound science.

ALF target farming union offices over badger cull, June 13th
ALF target farming union offices over badger cull, June 13th

Vivia National Rally, June 28th
Vivia National Rally, June 28th

ALF article:
Rally report:

From Animal Aid:

Mr Benn also has resounding public support for sparing badgers. A DEFRA public consultation on the issue received submissions from 47,000 respondents, ninety-five per cent of whom opposed a cull.

Benn has come under unrelenting pressure from the farming industry to give permission for the destruction of around 170,000 badgers - half the population. The government-appointed Independent Scientific Group announced in June 2007 - following a decade of research - that killing badgers would not significantly reduce bovine TB and could make matters worse. It also declared that TB probably first spreads from cattle to badgers, where it remains stable, provided the badgers are undisturbed. Research has demonstrated that culling causes massive disturbance and has the effect of increasing the incidence and spread of the disease.

Some 30,000 badgers have been destroyed since 1975, in a failed attempt to curb the disease. And despite virtually exterminating badgers from four counties in Ireland, a huge TB problem remains in each of those areas.

The farming industry has long resisted the idea that its own intensive rearing, breeding and transport practices are at the heart of the bovine TB problem. In fact, exhaustive research demonstrates that cattle movements 'substantially and consistently outweigh' (1) all other factors in spreading bovine TB. The disease has appeared in areas that have been TB-free for ten years, sometimes longer, despite the fact that badgers were present throughout the period. The key new factor was the unregulated countrywide movements of cattle who - because of the BSE and then the foot and mouth crises - were not tested for TB infectivity before being transported.

In light of the apparent DEFRA decision, it is time for Elin Jones, Rural Affairs Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government, to rule out a badger cull in Wales. In April, Ms Jones announced a 'comprehensive package of measures' to control TB in cattle, an element of which would be badger killing. Last month, lawyers acting for the Minister announced that she has NOT made a decision to cull badgers in Wales.

(1) This is according to a paper published in Nature on May 26, 2005, by Dr William Wint and colleagues at Oxford University's Environmental Research Group (



Hide the following 7 comments

Beware vigilante farmers

04.07.2008 15:03

If it's correct and the cull does not go ahead then that's great news. Although a close watch will be needed on vigilante farmers who like fox hunters will use any means available to them.

The thankful badger

BBC biased as usual

04.07.2008 15:20

The BBC TV coverage of this has been heavily biased and stating things completely untrue - conveniently choosing to ignore the ISG final report which stated a cull was useless and instead allowing farmers to state their prejudice as fact.

We should all complain about this.

Their phone number: Phone:

03700 100 222*


03700 100 212*

* calls cost same as normal dialing of a 01 or 02 number.


BBC Complaints,
PO Box 1922,
Glasgow G2 3WT

Not the BBC

vigilante farmers already killing badgers!

04.07.2008 16:21

It's a well known fact that dairy and cattle farmers are already on a major killing spree around here.
Methods include poisoning and pouring diesel down setts.

Due to the powerful farming lobby in rural areas, those who have seen these activities are afraid to openly speak out. As well as hunt watch, badger watch is also urgently needed!


Farmers in a bubble

04.07.2008 18:54

Many farmers are living secluded lives, where their only dealings with the outside world is through markets, deliveries, rare vets visits (getting rarer according to rural vet report on Radio 4 - cheaper to kill a sick animal innit).
In other words, they are a law unto themselves.
I'm willing to bet many kill badgers, poison anything that might eat some of their profits, dump waste illegally. I know they shoot outside the 'hunting seaon'. Just today, I watched a farmer herding cows for milking, using a quad bike. Although they were heavy with milk and found walking difficult enough (intensive farming meaning their udders are distended twice as much as from ordinary calf feeding), they were forced to run. Bastard. The sooner the land re-take begins, the better.


How to hunt the hunters...

04.07.2008 21:22

That's a good point about farmers. If you live in the countryside you can hear the gun any time of day or night. If you talk to the farmers that do the shooting they will tell you about it. You just have to strike up conversation whilst out on a walk. The 'Killing Fields' aspect is even more than you probably realise.
I had one such conversation a while back, however the focus was on lifestock killing. It costs a lot of money to bring a lamb to market and if the reward is not there or if the animal is lame then it is not going to be kindly treated by the vet. For a farmer who rents land to stay in business there has to be a way of disposing of the bodies cost effectively. Until prices improve there is going to be a lot of killing.
People that shoot also have night-sights and develop an obsession with killing. They will open up and tell you about it, for the same reasons that 'Wild West' outlaws go into town and let on about their crimes in out-of-the-way bars. That was how most of the outlaw folks got to meet justice.
In turn you can hunt the hunters. Just make sure you know your area, listen out for the gunshots, find out who owns what land where and befriend the 'farm-hands'. They usually have a feeding routine, i.e. when they drop off the hay. Talk to them then...
It has to be remembered that the motorcar is the main enemy of the badger, not the farmer. Nobody sets off to kill badgers (or anything else) with their motorcar, it could be you! Hence DON'T DRIVE!

Cock Robin

How about "Thank you scientists"

04.07.2008 22:01

After all, what convinced the government not to go ahead with culling was the data that had been painstakingly collected by researchers and not any ALF graffiti. By all means, carry out actions that raise awareness or directly attack those institutions that abuse animals, but a lot of AR reports seem to view scientists as part of some big evil faceless entity.

It would be nice to see them get credit where it's due. Scientific organisations generally hear from the public only when the media print some pseudo-science story - it's one of the reasons they are wary of talking to the public or media. When you can start pointing to hard evidence, the public start to realise that protesters aren't just against something because an animal might die.


ALF didn't convince government? Sure?

04.07.2008 22:55

"After all, what convinced the government not to go ahead with culling was the data that had been painstakingly collected by researchers and not any ALF graffiti"

Thanks is of course due to the scientists, but evidence has been CLEAR for years that culls don't work, especially badger ones - so what was it that finally persuaded the government? If DEFRA do regularly listen to science, as you say, why were there culls before?

The graffiti had only been there for under a month and it did the trick better than any petition pointing to a sicence paper EVER has. No conspiracy, just recognition for a successful and well-timed direct action.

"When you can start pointing to hard evidence" - governments don't listen.
"When you tie the evidence to a brick and throw it through a window" - governments listen.

They listen to money, not science. Nice thought though.