The second badger cull is now 14 days old. Not content with the fiasco that occurred in Somerset and Gloucestershire last year and the widespread opposition to it, the government initiated round two on 8 September and wants to continue each year until 2016!
The Independent Expert Panel which reported on last year’s cull and was highly critical of it has been cast aside, thus removing any pretence that this barbaric practice will carried out on a scientific basis. This year there will be no attempt to count badgers in the cull areas – either before or after they are killed – and the time badgers take to die will not be recorded either. There will be no oversight by independent scientists.
Instead key data is being collected by the shooters themselves: people with a vested interest in the cull being designated “effective” and “humane” and whose data was so unreliable last year that it was considered worthless by the panel. Thus any future claim that the 2014 culls have reduced badger numbers to control bovine TB will be completely baseless.
What this proves beyond doubt is the cull is not about reducing TB – which is happening anyway in Wales where badgers are being vaccinated, not shot – but about the Tories and their friends appeasing countryside interests. The ruling class in the shires consists of large landowners, farmers and the shooting/hunting industries and the interests of all three converge on this issue.
Quite simply the Tories can’t back down, despite the escalating cost of the cull and the lack of results, because to do so would be to give in to the “great unwashed” and the “green blob” (as Owen Patterson referred to groups like Friends of the Earth after he was sacked) and would send a message to their natural supporters that they should defect to UKIP.
So the poor badgers are just a political scapegoat. More than that though it is just another excuse for the ruling class to do what it loves best – killing wild animals. As well as foxes, pheasants, grouse, etc, it now has license to shoot even more defenceless creatures because badgers take the blame for causing TB in cows.
The dairy cow leads a short, miserable and squalid life in order to provide us with a daily pinta. Forced to endure continual pregnancy and lactation – her calf removed when only days or hours old and then either sent to a dairy herd itself or shot in its head – inevitably she is prone to conditions such as mastitis and TB
But try telling that to the farmers and landowners who see animals as either commodities for profit or pests who threaten their livelihoods. One species of wild animal has to be massacred in order to preserve the enslavement and oppression of another. The madness of capitalism and animal exploitation.
But this isn’t just an animal rights issue; it’s also about class and power. As Daniel Dawson writes in his perceptive article on the Freedom website:
“This is taking back land from the hands of those who remind us that it is private property. This is reminding the government that the shock therapy that they have implemented over the last few years is unacceptable, and that every small battle counts. Remember now that on all fronts this government has attacked us, debilitated us and pacified us through desperate work conditions, privatisation and cuts to much needed public services. Every small revolt that frightens gunmen, angers huntsmen, and directly halts undemocratically funded initiatives implemented solely for the appeasement of the rich, is a revolutionary act that normalises dissent.”
Last year the culls were rendered ineffective due to disruption and sabbing from opponents – proof that direct action can work. These tactics are being honed and this year they can be even more effective but they need more bodies in the area. People can only do without so much sleep. If you can get involved for a few days or even hours contact the Gloucestershire Badger Office on 07582607913. You can also donate much needed funds for fuel and equipment to hunt sab groups in the area.
Stop the cull campaign http://badger-killers.co.uk/
Gloucestershire Badger Office https://www.facebook.com/Glosbadgeroffice
Hunt saboteurs Association http://www.huntsabs.org.uk/
Freedom article: http://freedomnews.org.uk/the-badger-cull-not-just-about-badgers/