In late 2008 N.I. Minister for Agriculture Michelle Gildernew announced that her department was currently considering carrying out a Badger Cull somewhere in Co. Down as a means to increase DARD’s understanding of the problem of T.B. Since then we have run an active campaign to oppose this, drawing in support from big farmers, other political parties and many diverse groups. We have maintained contacts with Badger Watch and the Badger Trust thoughout this campaign.
I opposed the proposed Badger Cull in Co. Down and pointed out that many similar culls and scientific studies had already been done and that the science did not support the contention that badgers spread T.B amongst cattle.
I have been posting regular updates on this site (see below) since this campaign started, and have made considerable progress in our campaign. Events in other jurisdictions have aided our campaign with Scotland being declared TB-free with no cull using only cattle movement controls, culling being ruled out in England for cost/benefit and scientific reasons and the proposed cull in Wales judged illegal by the Appeal Court under multiple headings. Only in the Republic of Ireland is culling continuing and we have secured a promise that the cull will be ended there. We are pressing for this promise to be fulfilled.
VICTORY! SEE POSTING BELOW FOR REPUBLIC JANUARY 2011
PLUS SEPTEMBER 2010 FOR NORTHERN IRELAND.
LATEST CAMPAIGN NEWS
Campaign Update January 2011
OUR CAMPAIGN ENDS IN VICTORY IN THE REPUBLIC TOO
Following extensive canvassing of the Minister for the Environment and Local Government in the 26 counties, we recived a copy of this letter, outlining the law as we understood it – refusing a licence to expand Badger Culling to the vested interests represented by the Irish Department of Agriculture.
To see Minister Gormleys letter – CLICK HERE
Campaign Update December 2010
BADGER VACCINE SHOWS PROMISE FOR TACKLING CATTLE TB
In a four-year project, UK scientists found vaccination reduced the incidence of TB infection in wild badgers by 74%.
“Badger culling as an approach to disease control can be costly, practically difficult and indiscriminate, and remains controversial,” they write in the Royal Society’s scientific journal Proceedings B.
Read more on this news at the following link – CLICK HERE
Campaign Update November 2010
CLLR ENRIGHT BADGER GROUP MEETING
I hosted a meeting on Sunday 2nd November to discuss the current progress and success of the campaign against the badger cull in N.I and also the proposed Badger cull in England. Representatives from the Badger Group N.I, Friends of the Earth Downpatrick and other Animal Welfare activists took part in the meeting chaired by Cllr Cadogan Enright.
The meeting was concerned that the Southern Ireland badger cull was acting as a precedent for culls in Northern Ireland.
There were suggestions that there should be an all-island approach to badger protection given that this area was covered under the Good Friday Agreement and that we needed to share resources and expertise.
The meeting reviewed a detailed legal / policy document which mike rendle undertook to update so it could be given to Minsiter John Gormley and his staff by Cllr Cadogan Enright as there had been a new application to extend the badger cull in the Republic beyond the 30% of the land area in the Republic that had already been culled of all badgers. It was noted that this was the first opportuntiy that Minister Gormley would have to stop the badger cull as the license was only now coming up for renewal.
To view the document – Ireland and the Bern Convention
Campaign Update September 2010
LOCAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS APPLAUD U-TURN BY AGRICULTURE MINISTER GILDERNEW
Cllr Cadogan Enright has welcomed the news that Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew has decided not to proceed with a badger cull in County Down. The Green Party and many environmental organisations have been supported by prominent local farmers in disputing the advice being given to the Minister that a badger cull would do anything to influence bovine TB in cattle.
Campaign Update July 2010
WELSH BADGER CULL DECLARED UNLAWFUL!
We were delighted to hear the news that the Badger Trusts appeal against the proposed Welsh Badger Cull ws successfully won in the Court of Appeals.
This is a victory for badgers on all counts as the Court of Appeal declared proposed Welsh badger cull unlawful.
On 5 July, the Welsh Ministers had conceded the appeal on the basis of one of three grounds: that the 2009 Order which permitted culling in the whole of Wales (even in the many areas where TB is not a problem) was not supported by evidence and was unlawful as a result.
This hugely strengthens the campaign to oppose a badger cull in Co. Down.
I would like to extend my congratulations to the Badger Trust and all other groups involved in this huge achievement.
For more information click on the following link – Badger Trust Press Release on court victory.
The report also highlights the hugely important point that the incidence of bTB in the Northern Ireland cattle herd is now lower than in the Republic, where badger culling continues.
Campaign Update July 2010
DUP PUSH MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE FOR BADGER CULL
In written questions to the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gidernew, DUP MLA asked about the possibility of having a cull of badgers to avoid the spread of Bovine TB.
To read the Question from Mr Shannon and the answer from the Minister click here: Written Answers to Questions at Stormont
Campaign Update April 2010
A number of local people have contacted us following our press coverage in the local papers regarding our anti badger cull campaign. Questions that cropped up a number of times where “Is T.B increasing or decreasing in N.Ireland?” & “How is this level of T.B. compared to elsewhere in the UK and Ireland?”
To answer these questions you simply have to look at the The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee report from the 27th February 2008, on Badgers and Cattle TB on the UK mainland.
The report describes the situation in Northern Ireland regarding Bovine TB stating that ‘the incidence of bTB in Northern Ireland has shown a steady decrease in recent years.’
The report shows that Bovine TB disease levels in NI have fallen considerably in recent years, with the figures recently released by DARD showing a decline of 50% in herd incidence since 2002.
Campaign Update March 2010
On a visit to Downpatrick during the Green Partys Westminster election campaign Green Party Environment Minister John Gormley took the opportunity to respond to the concerns of Environmentalists in the Co. Down area on his Governments policy on badger-culling and confirmed that this practice is to end.
Minister Gormley said “Lecale environmentalists and Green Party members brought this issue to my attention ahead of the re-negotiation of the “Programme for Government” between the Green Party and Fianna Fail. I am pleased to say that we have put in chain the process for ending this barbaric practice which appears only to make the Bovine TB problem worse on the ground. We are now looking to the example of Scotland that was declared TB-free in December last without ever culling badgers and are investing in the development of a vaccine.”
We welcomed this development from Minister Gormley and will continue to pursue the implementation and enactment of this legislation to ban badger culling in the ROI.
For more information on John Gormleys visit – Click Here.
Keep an eye on this page for further updates!
Campaign Update February 2010
Scientists have now also expressed their concerns as seen by the article below which appeared in the Irish News. Click on image for link to file.
Local Activists have over the past few months written to the DARD and recieved several responses which confirm a very strong case against a badger cull and we are using these responses to argue our policy against a cull. You can see the responses from DARD by clicking on the following links – DARD response regarding Badgers and T.B., DARD response regarding the Badger Cull in Co.Down, Answers to Stormont Assembly Questions on Badger Cull and T.B.
More updates coming soon!
Campaign Update February 2010
A new report carried out by the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, and Institute of Zoology London, has found that Badger Culling is not an effective way of combating T.B.
The findings show that the reductions in cattle TB incidence achieved by repeated badger culling were not sustained in the long term after culling ended and did not offset the financial costs of culling. These results, combined with evaluation of alternative culling methods, suggest that badger culling is unlikely to contribute effectively to the control of cattle TB in Britain.
Whilst this is a conclusive scientific report coming from the highest level in Britian and ruling out culling of Badgers, we could not help but be suprised that even at this level there was a presumption that badgers may contribute to TB in cattle – something that has never been established despite multi-million pound studies and the killing of thousands of badgers as part of these studies.
It is this presumption that drives culling of badgers – eg in the Republic of Ireland – whereas the evidence (see the NI Audit office report March 2009 below) suggests that poor farmig practices are the main cause.
Campaign Update October 2009
ENRIGHT STOPS BADGER CULLING IN SOUTH OF IRELAND IN PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATIONS
I have successfully instigated a ban on the culling of Badgers in the Republic of Ireland as a means to thwart plans for similar culls in Co. Down.
I recently recently wrote to the Green Party Minister for Agriculture in Ireland, Trevor Sargent, asking for the culling of badgers in the Republic to cease as part of the renegotiations for the new programme for government in the Republic – this was granted.
Our local party members were ecstatic to see how they, as members of the Green Party, can have a huge effect on government legislation which will ultimately make the case for culling badgers in our own Co. Down completely groundless.
More updates will come soon on how this new legislation in the ROI will come into effect.
Campaign Update August 2009
We have been in contact with a number of animal welfare / rights organisations to see if they could lend their support to our campaign. We were delighted to recieve support from the influential campaign group Viva working with their Campaigns Manager Justin Kerswell.
Viva emailed their vast membership asking their supporters to write letters to Michelle Gildernew and it is our understanding a huge number of them did!
For more information on Vivas support – Click here!
Campaign Update July 2009
Notable Charity, the Woodland Trust, has come out strongly against culling badgers and has stated categorically that is will;
1. Refuse access to sites in their ownership for the purpose of culling badgers.
2. With partner organisations, continue to lobby against badger culling as a method of controlling bTB, and in favour of further research into cattle-based solutions and increased biosecurity to keep badgers and cattle apart.
To read the Woodlands Trust full Position Statement Click on the following link – Woodland Trust Oppose Badger Cull.
Campaign Update May 2009
I have issued a press release to the local media on our reasons for opposing badger culling.
We have also gained the support of notable farmer and Ulster Unionist MLA John McCallister and UUP Cllr Robert Burgess who have both come out opposing badger culling as a method of controlling T.B.
To see our press release on this issue follow this link – Badger Cull Press Release
Campaign Update March 2009
The Northern Ireland Audit Office has released a detailed study on TB in cattle in N. Ireland and found that the main causes are related to poor animal management and movement control – not wildlife!
You can view this document at the following link – The Control of Bovine Tuberculosis in Northern Ireland.
Campaign Update January 2009
Our policy on this issue has been echoed by other notable organisations and you can see their stance on the issue by clicking on the links that follow –
We have also campaigned against the cruel activity of Badger Baiting in our local area this month. Click Here to find out more information.