24 February 1999
Badger supporters are ‘sentimental’, say MPs
By Isabel Davies
WILDLIFE groups trying to halt the governments badger-culling trial have been accused by MPs of being motivated by sentiment rather than reason.
Members of the Commons agriculture select committee suggested there would be no objection to culling if rats, rather than badgers, were linked with the spread of tuberculosis in cattle.
But the conservationists were adamant that their desire to halt badger culling was because they did not believe that the trial would produce any meaningful results.
Problems of non-compliance in trial areas and illegal culling by farmers made the trial unworkable, claimed the conservationists.
And there was a possibility that, even by the end of the trial, there would be no conclusive answers.
“We want to see a solution to the problem,” said Elaine King, conservation officer with the National Federation of Badger Groups.
“Farmers believe there is a link between badgers and bovine TB because that is what MAFF has told them for the past 25 years.”
Simon Lyster, director general of The Wildlife Trusts, agreed that the trial was the wrong way of addressing the problem.
Money earmarked for culling should be spent on looking at why transmission of TB between badgers and cattle occurred in some cases and not others, he added.