Killing Badgers Is Mindless, Pointless Brutality
It is a myth that badgers
spread tuberculosis (TB) to cows. The evidence shows that cattle movements
spread TB among cows. And it is cows that give TB to badgers - not the other way
round. Killing badgers is just an excuse farmers make in order to avoid having
to face the truth: that modern farming methods are inhumane and unhealthy.
Wild animals are often accused of spreading disease to `farm' animals.
Wild badgers are blamed for infecting cattle with tuberculosis, wild boar are
persecuted for spreading classical swine fever to commercial pigs, deer have
been killed lest they carry foot and mouth disease and bison are slaughtered
lest they spread brucellosis to cattle. Even the hedgehog has been accused of
carrying numerous dangerous diseases which might affect people or domesticated
The belief that wild animals are the cause of illness and
disease spread among domesticated and farm animals is a well-cultivated but
Farmers who perpetuate these myths invariably claim
that the wild animal concerned has somehow acquired a natural immunity to the
disease and is, therefore, able to remain symptom free while still being a
threat to farmed animals. There is no scientific evidence to supporting this
claim. And if the claim were true it would, of course, be scientifically
illogical to kill the wild animals because they had successfully developed
immunity to a disease.
Today's farmed animals are weak and susceptible to
disease because of the confined, unnatural and stressful conditions in which
they are kept and the poor and often unnatural diet they are given.
is a lesson to be learnt from the fact that wild animals, which must fend for
themselves and which are deprived of antibiotic cover and the other luxuries
afforded domestic animals, are generally much healthier, and suffer far less
disease even though they are exposed to the same parasites and pathogens as
But it's not a lesson farmers are likely to learn. They
claim to understand the countryside and to care for animals. Most don't
understand nature very well and don't care a jot for animals - except as items
on a balance sheet.
When wild animals fall ill in large numbers it is
usually because of a violent, new problem - pollution, drought, overcrowding or
the invasion of some new pathogen (usually introduced by human
Farmed cattle are sickly and prone to tuberculosis because of
the appalling conditions in which they are kept.
Farmers who blame
badgers when their cows fall ill are simply looking for an excuse; a
But don't tell them this. When farmers hear about a new animal
they want to kill it. And so they'll start wandering around, guns blazing, in an
attempt to kill all the scapegoats.
Copyright Vernon Coleman