Dec 4, 2011

Badger Danger : Britain’s Most Famous Wild Animal Receives a Death Threat

Badger Danger : Britain’s Most Famous Wild Animal Receives a Death Threat
These days, there are very wild animals left in the UK. The wolves have gone. The bears have been hunted to extinction. The beavers are no more. Fortunately, there are a few badgers.... oh, well, actualy, not for long as the British government have just decided to kill them too! But why?

Beadgers are fascinating creatures. The black and white mammals live underground in “setts”, wich they dig out of the earth. They’re nocturnal, and they’re extremely brave, fighting off larger predators such as bears and wolves. The problem is that some badgers carry “bovine tubercu;osis” (bTB). This is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. Bovis) wich can case TB in some other animals, including cattle.

For farmers, this is a serious issue. In 1998 in the UK, almost 6,000 cows were slaughtered to control to the desease. And in 2010, more than 30,000 animals were destroyed. It’s expensive too. Bovine TB costs the UK about £100m per year. And some believe that the disease could end up costing the economy £9 billion over the next 40 years if nothing is done about it.
Experts say that badgers are responsible for about 50% of the infected cattle. So, after much debate, the goverment has agreed to a badger cull. This will mean about 30,000 of the innocet creatures will be wiped out in a bid to fight the desease. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman admitted that there was “great strength of feeling” about it, but said, “I believethis is the right way forward.”
Of course, many are against the measure, including conservationists and animal rights activists. They claim that killing the badgers in controlled zones (wich is part of the plan) wouldn’t work because badgers from neighbouring areas would simply move into the vacant setts and become infected too. Furthermore, they believe that the way cattle are raised intensively, and transportedn opinion poll for the BBC suggests about two-thirds are against killing the badgers, with majorities against culling in every age group, every region and across both genders. One of the alternatives to the cull involves vaccinating badgets.
However, this costs an average of £2,250 per year per square kilometre. Tripping and shooting badgers costs £2,500 per year, but shooting free-running badgers only costs about £200 per year (per square kilometre).
So, with that in mind, it’s easy to see how the government arrived at their decision. Money talks!
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