Letter from Mr David Acland (J5)
I write as a farmer who has had a number of
cows destroyed as reactors, and where badgers suffering from tuberculosis
have been observed by MAFF vets. Local farmers are concerned about
the timeframe of the Krebs report and the likelihood of its producing
a definitive scientific result. I wish to make two proposals to
the enquiry as under.
1. BURDEN OF
The circumstantial evidence is strong that badgers
are the source of infection, in that no other equally credible
source has been identified. So even though the direct scientific
link may not have been established, I ask that the presumption
should be that badgers are the link, and that the burden of proof
to establish an alternative source should be on those who argue
2. SOLVING THE
Badger baiting and indeed any equivalent act
of cruelty for sadistic pleasure is abhorrent and can be dealt
with by legislation which does not involve full protection of
There are many species of animals in this country
which have no natural predators and as a consequence the population
tends to expand to the extent that they damage the environment
and need to be controlled.
Examples in this category are deer, foxes, grey
squirrels and arguably badgers. Of these only badgers are the
subject of specific legislation. Many people who live close to
nature think that badgers have been focused on by the animal rights
movement because of publicity given to badger baiting (if it ever
actually takes place) and the Wind in the Willows. Surely legislation
is only desirable where there would be serious harm without it.
We suffer from too much bureaucracy.
Consider what might happen if badger protection
was repealed and badgers were left in the same category as other
1. Badger baiting would remain illegal.
2. The MAFF could advise and insist on humane
methods of controlling the species.
3. Landowners would probably fall into
three groups. The majority would accept a reasonable population
and only cull if the population expanded to the point of nuisance.
Some would protect all badgers and a few might try to exterminate
them in local areasprobably unsuccessfully.
Overall however, there would be a sustainable
badger population and all the expense and problems caused by the
present unnecessary legislation eliminated. Is it really too much
to hope that this could be done?
10 August 2000