CAMPAIGNERS calling for the “inhumane” cull of badgers to be prevented in parts of Worcestershire have handed in a petition to the County Council.
Members of Operation Badger, wearing full badger costumes, presented the 1,400 signature document at County Hall last Thursday (May 15).
The petition calls for the council to ban any culling of the animal on its land when the Government rolls out the programme to other parts of the county in 2015 following a trial in Gloucestershire and Somerset last year.
Badger culling involves killing the animals on a large scale in a bid to prevent bTB – Bovine Tuberculosis – spreading to cattle.
However the group have slammed the policy branding it deeply flawed.
They claimed the pilot runs failed and said figures showed only a small proportion of bTB was spread from badgers to cows and the majority was spread from cattle to cattle.
The campaigners have called on the Government to instead look at better controls for the movement of cows as well as support for farmers.
They also urged leading politicians to divert funds from more pilot tests to developing a badger vaccine for the disease.
Operation Badger, which is a national group, has already seen its members hand in petitions to other councils and hold protests throughout the country ahead of the planned roll out.
Pauline Burgess who handed in the petition to the County Council said she wanted the council to show their support.
“At least those badgers will be safe and it will send a message to the Government that the British public doesn’t want badgers culled,” she said.
“They’re an iconic British mammal and the public want to keep them.”
Di Pugh from Malvern Link said they were particularly worried in Worcestershire as a number of landowners had already applied to DEFRA for a licence to kill badgers.
“There are so many things the famers can do rather than just kill badgers,” she added.
“The first step should be things like improved bio-security. Seal up the holes in the barns so badgers can’t get in.
“They’re advised, but generally don’t bother to raise the food off the ground and into troughs.
“There is a badger vaccine which can be done but we’d like them to vaccinate the cattle. The reason they’re not moving forward with that is beacuse the EU doesn’t want the vaccination, despite the fact we vaccinate for so many other things.
“These are the things that need changing and then perhaps look at controlling badgers but surely you have to go ahead with all these things first.”
A spokesman from Worcestershire County Council said: “A petition has been logged and has been sent to the appropriate officers to make a response. In addition to these officers, the petition will also be dealt with by John Campion, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Transformation and Change.”