Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
Note: Will wrote this blog for the Born Free Foundation, our organizational cousin in the United Kingdom.
The Chamber of the House of Commons, scene of some of the great political events in British history, witnessed a lively, well-informed and potentially decisive debate this week.
The subject? Whether or not to abandon plans to cull thousands of badgers.
The result? A resounding 147 votes in favor of cancelling the cull (already postponed to mid-2013) and just 28 votes in support of its continuation.
The press response was overwhelming and here are a few headlines:
- Commons debate, following 150,000 strong e-petition, strikes blow at Government plan to slaughter badgers — Guardian
- MPs' vote delivers blow to controversial badger cull plan — Independent
- MPs voted overwhelmingly by 147 votes to 28, in favour of a motion calling on the UK government to abandon its cull entirely — BBC News
- Government plans for a badger cull suffered a blow today — This is Gloucestershire
While non-binding, the strength of cross-party Parliamentary opinion clearly reflects the mood in the country and widespread concerns about the cull’s lack of scientific credibility.
The debate, initiated by Caroline Lucas MP (Green), saw speaker after speaker carefully articulate reasons why, at best, a cull would only slow the rate of increase of bovine TB in cattle and would not even bring about a drop in cases.
All MPs expressed their deep concern for the impact of the disease on cattle and members of the farming community, but the overwhelming majority recognised that the situation was unlikely to improve as a result of badger culling.
Born Free, a member of Team Badger, led by Queen guitar legend Brian May, feels that the result is an opportunity to bring all stakeholders together in a "one nation" approach to tackle and eradicate bTB.
I think we now have a unique opportunity for politicians of all persuasions, NGOs and the farming community to work together to speed up the EU authorizations necessary for effective cattle and badger vaccinations to be implemented as a matter of urgency. The sooner we can secure these permissionsthe sooner we can begin to really end the scourge of bTB without badgers being harmed.
We must not get carried away but it’s a great boost to our campaign. I hope the government will now join us and help deliver the result we all want — an end to bTB and a badger population free from persecution and fear.