To cull or not to cull? That is the question…

CC Image from Google

CC Image from Google

By: Maddie G.

A badger cull is occurring in England to try and decrease the spread of bovine TB (tuberculosis) which they are known to carry. There is currently a population of about 300,000 badgers living in the UK occupying an underground maze of tunnels called a sett. These creatures have been around a very long time, surviving two ice ages, but because of government policies, there is a plan to reduce the badger population by 5,000 through a culling process (hunting/extracting from the public). This disease that they are supposedly carriers of, is passed on to cattle, causing farms to shut down all throughout two main parts of England, Gloucestershire and Somerset. It is very rare for a human to ever catch the disease. However, this issue is a huge controversy that is protested by many citizens of the UK and by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Lots of people and scientists believe that reducing the population of the badgers will not solve the spread of the disease and that it might even make the issue worse. Many people among the English public are opposing these acts of cruelty and have been pushing to “Vaccinate, not Exterminate” the badgers. (Read more…)

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2 thoughts on “To cull or not to cull? That is the question…

  1. Is killing a few thousand animals in order to save millions of dollars, and more importantly, human lives, really a terrible thing? I would hardly call the killing of animals that happen to be vectors of TB something “cruel.” TB to date has killed millions of people since the beginning of human history. Would you be willing to “take one for the badgers” and be infected with TB? I didn’t think so. And no, it is not possible to effectively prevent TB infections from badgers AND allow unfettered contact with human populations. Sometimes it is necessary to do bad things for good reasons.

  2. Imagine how difficult and time-consuming vaccinating wild animals are. With the high turnover rate of individuals in the wild, vaccination of badger populations would necessarily continue indefinitely in order for the vaccination program to be effective. As well as that, who’s to say that this particular strain of TB might not (A) become resistant to antibiotics used to treat the infection, as many strains already have, or (B) “cross-over” to human populations and then to (A), at which point it would be futile to attack the disease at its musteline source and a whole new set of difficult problems will arise.

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