POV: Bovine TB and the badger cull

Martin Aveling

Badger culls to continue in England despite lack of scientific evidence.

There is one thing that would definitely help to reduce the rates of bovine TB in cattle, and that is fewer cows.

I think that the Badger Trust and other anti-cull groups are being very generous with their stance on bovine TB. The debate around badger culling is heavily weighted towards what’s best for livestock farmers, and not the environment at large.

Of all mammal mass on earth, a whopping 96% is made up of just human beings and our livestock.

Graphic from The Guardian

The remaining 4% is every lion, leopard, lemur, whale, elephant, bat, bison, badger, and some 5500 other mammals that we share the planet with. Globally humans only eat three in every four animals farmed, so cutting back on livestock feels like an obvious thing to do.

Farmers are, of course, essential for civilisation to function, but the current state of affairs when it comes to livestock is a far cry from a few Belted Galloways peacefully grazing in a field. Reducing the number of factory farmed animals could help mitigate climate disasters, and it would be in line with a growing trend in people choosing to consume less meat and dairy. Reducing livestock would create more space for wildlife, lessening competition for resources and allowing ecosystems to recover. This would benefit all life on earth.

We have catastrophically failed at managing wildlife. Our narcissism and sense of entitlement, cultivated over centuries, has led us here. If we have any humility left, we must give back to nature, because we can’t exist without it.

The Badger Trust is not even asking to reduce livestock numbers. They are simply asking that instead of shooting badgers, we explore the most robust cattle based solutions for controlling a cattle disease. Given that the UK is already one of the most nature depleted places on earth, I think that’s pretty fair.

There is no scientific, nor moral justification for killing badgers to control bovine TB. #EndTheCull

New report shows collaborative way forward on bTB control.

Still from film by Mark Rowe

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