Culling badgers is not the answer
I WISH to make some comments about Ken Spencer’s letter published on July 28, as chairman of Durham County Badger Group ( covering the area south of the Tyne to the Tees area and Cumbrian border).
I sympathise with the problem of the damage to the graves of Mr Spencer’s grandparents and I would be interested to know where the cemetery is to see if we can offer any alternative advice. I would ask Mr Spencer to get in touch with me on 0191 584 2293 or email via our website www. durhamcountybadgers. co. uk
Badgers usually come into conflict with humans as a result of their territories being disturbed – for example, where housing or industrial development have covered the foraging areas that may have been used for centuries.
Regarding Mr Spencer’s implied suggesting that a badger would attack a human – the only people I know who have been bitten by a badger have been handling an injured animal.
TB in humans in Mr Spencer’s childhood was contracted by consuming unpasturised milk, or diseased meat or possibly by coming into close contact with a person with the disease. Bovine TB is a cattle disease which has populated the wider environment.
The North East is classed as being free of bovine TB and it has never been found in our badger population. Bovine TB will only enter the North East by bringing in diseased cattle.
A cull of badgers in other parts of the country will not finalise the matter as Mr Spencer suggests. Incidents of bovineTB increased when the farming industry restocked after the foot and mouth outbreak when the normal movement management rules were chucked out of the window.
Where there has been no killing of badgers, the number of incidents is decreasing.
Persecution of badgers is rife in the North of England and over the years I have been close to tears when I find or attend incidents where these beautiful ancient animals with their sophisticated lives and territories have been dug out of their sett and torn apart, abused and killed by so-called human beings, using ironmongery and their dogs.
Personally, I cannot separate the problems associated with BSE( CJD), foot and mouth, blue tongue, mastitis – the list goes on, from bovine TB. The problem lies with the farming/ food industry first and foremost.