Trust raises concern over badger cull pilots

Has the National Trust lost its soul? My comments (furtlefinch) below.

National Trust Press Office

We recognise that dealing with bovine TB is a complex problem, with strongly held views on all sides. The Trust is uniquely placed in this issue with a strong interest in both farming and nature conservation. We have always been clear that we support an evidence-based approach to this important issue.

With this in mind, we have recently raised our concerns over the Government’s pilot badger culls taking place in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

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3 thoughts on “Trust raises concern over badger cull pilots

  1. furtlefinch Post author

    Whatever its reservations, this still leaves the National Trust in favour of causing near-extinction of a wild mammal that we have an international duty to protect under the Bern Convention, and this over a huge swathe of England. The ‘gain’ would be the possible saving of a few hundred cattle per year.

    To give this some figures, take the ISG (Bourne/Krebs) RBCT report that you refer to. DEFRA deduced from it that a minimum of 70% of the badger population needed to be culled to have any noticeable effect, and their maximum nos that they thought they could get away with and still not fall foul of Bern was about 85-90% of their original population estimates. Now think for a moment: would the National Trust be in favour of India slaughtering 90% of its Tigers? Or Tanzania 90% of its Elephants? Is the National Trust really so anti-conservation that it would sanction a similar wildlife slaughter on its own land?

    And to what benefit? Back to the ISG report: you are right that there would be a ‘significant’ effect, but fail to say that this means STATISTICALLY significant, ie probable. It does not mean that it would be a LARGE effect. The much-vaunted 16% of TB cases prevented has wide limits statistically, and could in fact be as low as 3%. For an annual cull of 40000 cattle, this could be as low as 1200 cattle saved, using the ISG data.

    If the farming industry would only get on top of biosecurity, as it is beginning to do now (following pressure from the EU to obey its regulations), it could save probably a majority of the 40000 per year – tens of thousands at least.

    So we have NT possibly sanctioning a near-extermination of a protected species for a very limited potential gain to farming? If this is allowed, the National Trust will have apparently lost its mind, and certainly lost its soul.

  2. jane payne

    I just hope many members show their displeasure by withdrawing their membership. I agree about losing it’s soul. NFU and CA have bullied yet another group of people, they seem to be running the country now!


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