Broadcaster Bill Oddie condemns badger cull during visit to Gloucestershire
Unreasonable, irrational and cruel.
Those were the words used by conservationist and broadcaster Bill Oddie to describe the cull as he visited Gloucestershire this evening to show solidarity for the badger cull protestors.
He met with members of Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting’s (GABS) Wounded Badger Patrol in Eldersfield around 6.30pm as the group got ready to patrol the area.
The television presenter has been a vocal and passionate opponent of the badger cull, having spoken out against it before.
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He said: “This is one of the most controversial, unreasonable, unnecessary and damaging ‘solutions’ I have ever known in my whole life.
“It really is. It is revolting the government has not listened to the people, it is unbelievable.
“The fact is that there are masses of information from scientists and experts singing the cull is not going to work in eradicating bovine tuberculosis.
“There is no reason to believe a vaccine would not work, and information have been kept from the people. It is a travesty.”
He condemned an application by private cull companies to Natural England to extend the cull in Gloucestershire, and said it should not be approved.
The cull in the county is set to end in the middle of next week, and protestors in Gloucestershire have long claimed the target of more than 2,800 badgers will not be met.
Mr Oddie added: “I know people in the Conservative Party who said ‘oh no’ when the application was put in.
“It just shows they are desperate to hit their targets, and it is just a complete disaster.
“The cull should never have happened in the first place. The figures were completely wrong, the research was wrong, the method is wrong.
“It’s a farce.
“How can you go from the figures from last year to the ones just given this year, it’s a huge drop.
“I think it was a stupid decision, and if the extension is given the go ahead, it would be stupid.
“The entire operation reeks of incompetence.”
Environment secretary Owen Paterson said:
"Bovine TB is an infectious disease that is spreading across the country and devastating our cattle and dairy industries.
"We know that despite the strict controls we already have in place, we won’t get on top of this terrible disease until we start dealing with the infection in badgers as well as in cattle. That’s the clear lesson from Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland and the USA.
"That is why these pilot culls are so important. We have to use every tool in the box because TB is so difficult to eradicate and it is spreading rapidly.
"If we had a workable vaccine we would use it. A badger vaccine would have no effect on the high proportion of sick badgers in TB hotspots who would continue to spread the disease. We are working on new badger and cattle vaccines but they are years away from being ready and we cannot afford to wait while TB gets worse."