Well its been a week or so since my last post and a lot has happened in that time.
The petition to the government for people who are opposed to the cull has reached the 100,000 signature milestone meaning it will be discussed in parliament. In fact the petition is now on 136,247 so great going but we still need more signatures to stop this barbaric act going ahead.
Please take a few minutes to sign, it could mean everything for the Badgers survival.
The Forest of Dean district council has also banned culling on its own land. A vote was taken at a full council meeting on Thursday 27/09/12. They voted unanimously, 30-1 to prevent the cull taking place on council land.
A statement from the Council reads.
“That this Council recognises that TB in cattle is a terrible disease which needs eradicating. It believes that the government should work in a sustainable way to this end. The Council does not, however, believe that a badger cull will support this objective and will therefore, not allow badgers to be culled on land which the Forest of Dean District Council owns, manages or controls.
The Forest of Dean District Council must make public safety and the care of our wildlife a priority and to this end this council must endeavour to make contact with all other land owners within its boundary to request that they refuse any culling of badgers on their land”
This is fantastic news and a great coup for the cause.
Furthermore it has come to light that the cull will take place when sows are pregnant. This means that they are likely to be shot and left to crawl away into their setts to die a slow painful death. The closed season for free shooting of badgers is to be from the 1st February - 31st May. This means that some sows may already have dependant litters. If they are shot their cubs will also die from starvation.
Please continue to write to your local MP, discussing your concerns for the cull.
Another cull which is due to take place is the cull of Wild Boar in the Forest of Dean.
Between September 2012 and January 2013 the Forestry Commission plan to cull 100 boar. According to their estimates there are between 600-650 present in the forest, however friends of the boar believe the number to be closer to 200. Obviously a cull based on such inaccurate figures is a bad idea. For all the FC know they could be halving the population.
The FC have based their population estimates on 4 peoples observations over the summer, 3 rangers and 1 independent. The FoTB, on the other hand have used over 100 local enthusiasts, including wildlife photographers and naturalists. Now, I'm not saying one is right over the other because of course two groups with opposing views are more than likely to put numbers in favour of their own cause. However, it is my opinion that the Forestry Commission cannot perform an effective cull without knowing true figures. More time needs to be spent on censusing this species in the Forest of Dean.
Friends of the Boar have created a petition of their own and whilst they don't expect it to reach the numbers of the badger petition, we ask you to sign it.
Culling is an essential part of wildlife management. Deer have been culled in the countryside for years. It is important for not only the health of the countryside but also for the deer. When too many deer are present pressures are put onto the land with damage to grasslands, trees and crops. They also pose a potential threat to motorists as people are more likely to come into contact with them.
The land only has so much carrying capacity and since we humans have wiped out most of the deer's natural predators we must interfere and take over their roll in the chain.
Whilst I understand that culling is an essential part of countryside management I do not believe that badgers fall into this category. Scientific evidence has shown that culling works to manage a species so that it doesn't exceed the carrying capacity of the land, this isn't the issue in this case. Scientific evidence has shown that this cull to be ineffective in halting the spread of bTB, with the suggestion of better bio-security and vaccination the way forwards.
Similarly with the boar, the FC plan to carry out a cull of a species it has no idea of the true population figures. This cannot be allowed to go ahead and whilst I agree culling of some boar is necessary, we must first perform a proper census. It is no good culling based on inaccurate figures.