Alliance MLA John Blair has said the proposed culling of badgers, as part of a strategy to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from Northern Ireland, is “morally indefensible”.
He was speaking after the launch of a consultation into the strategy by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Mr Blair said whilst he was supportive of many of the measures proposed by DAERA to combat the disease, he would strongly oppose intensive badger culling, which would lead to the destruction of protected wildlife on an unprecedented scale.
“I recognise the challenges and costs faced by local farms affected by and tackling bTB, and an effective strategy to eradicate the disease is absolutely vital for the sector,” said the South Antrim MLA.
“There is, however, no justification for an indiscriminate cull of badgers in Northern Ireland and I am disappointed more ethical alternatives, such as badger vaccination and ‘test, vaccinate or remove’ approaches have not been proposed.
“I will continue to raise questions with the Department, scrutinise their approach to the bTB eradication and will be responding to the consultation. I urge those who care about the welfare of animals to do the same and make their views known.”