The National Beef Association and the NFU are stepping up efforts to encourage Britain’s cattle farmers to respond to the government’s consultation on proposals to cull badgers.
The move comes after the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals placed a full-page advert in two national newspapers and two regional newspapers last week (News, 10 February) in an attempt to rouse a strong response from the public against the proposals.
In a statement issued to Farmers Weekly the RSPCA declined to comment on how much it is spending on its Back Off Badgers campaign.
Instead it said it was more important that the campaign raised awareness of the issue before the consultation closes on 10 March.
“We are urging everyone to let the government know how they feel about badgers being made a scapegoat and killed as a result, when the science shows that effective cattle-based measures should be the focus of control,” said an RSPCA spokesman.
NBA chief executive Robert Forster has written a template letter (see opposite page) for those wishing to respond but uncertain what to say or where to send it [please fill in the gaps].
The NFU is calling for farmers to construct their own letters and send them to the address at the top of the opposite page.
Mr Forster said: “If TB is not checked, almost twice as many badgers, not to mention cattle, will be exposed to TB in four years’ time.
Only a resolute cull of badgers in existing TB areas can prevent this spread which will eventually be a risk to every badger in Britain if the disease is not halted.”
NFU vice president Meurig Raymond emphasised the important contribution farmers could make by responding.
“This consultation is perhaps the most important for the livestock sector in a generation.
The NFU has submitted a detailed response on behalf of industry, but the reality of living with the disease will be felt and best described by individual farmers and their families.
That needs to be communicated to DEFRA and I would urge those with an interest to take the time to respond.”
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