The letter by the author Dominic Dyer after members of the public crowd-funded the despatch of his book on the badger cull to MPs.
MPs will debate ending the badger cull this month, after 108,319 signed an e-petition pointing out that the cull is being pursued against scientific advice. I urge you to attend this debate and to read the facts about the cull, which are set out in my book Badgered to Death: The People and Politics of the Badger Cull (enclosed). Hundreds of people who care about wildlife raised the money to send it to you and your fellow Parliamentarians.
Appeal raised £3,854
They have done so because the current fate of the badger exemplifies the state of the natural world in the UK. In my lifetime our country has been stripped of animals. More than one in ten native species is threatened with extinction and others have seen their numbers fall by two thirds since 1970.
The fate of the badger is stark. Despite being a protected species, every year in Britain thousands of badgers are illegally snared, gassed, shot, baited with dogs and have their setts smashed. If this cruelty and destruction were not enough, the badger has become a scapegoat for our livestock and dairy industries.
Over the past four years £40 million of public money has funded the killing of 15,000 badgers in England in an attempt to lower bovine TB in cattle. None of the killed badgers has been tested for TB. Many die a lingering death of multiple bullet wounds, blood loss and organ failure as the result of a free shooting method that is considered cruel and ineffective by the government's independent panel and the British Veterinary Association.
The government has provided no evidence to prove that killing badgers is lowering bovine TB in or around the badger cull zones. Ministers also refuse to accept the science that indicates that badgers avoid interacting with cattle on farmland and that it is very difficult for a badger to transmit bovine TB to a cow.
I wrote Badgered to Death to reveal the incompetence, negligence and deceit at the heart of the badger cull. It tells the disastrous story of mistakes in livestock disease control, the manipulation of science for political purposes and the danger of demonising wild animals for short-term political and economic interests. It also tells how compassionate citizens have taken to the streets of our towns, cities and fields to protect a wild animal.
Despite its clear failure on scientific, cost and humaneness grounds the government is planning to extend the cull in 2017. This year 20,000 badgers could be killed — and the total could hit 100,000 by 2020. Badgers could go extinct from areas of England they have lived in for hundreds of thousands of years.
Whatever your view on bovine TB and badgers, please take the time to read Badgered to Death.
I will leave the last word to one of the nation’s most popular naturalists who wrote the foreword for Badgered to Death, Chris Packham:
"The book you have in your hands is evidence. Factual evidence that this cull is inhumane, ineffective, unscientific and expensive. What we finally and urgently need is an evidence-based decision — not another fallacious political one. History will judge you on this, so please use the facts to demonstrate to your grandchildren that you understood and cared for the health and wellbeing of our countryside and its wildlife".
Wildlife campaigner and author
4.30pm, Monday 27th March 2017
E-petition 165672 relating to badger culling
Badgered to Death (Canbury Press, 2016)