VAWM autumn meeting 2015 with the Vine and Craven
The 12th Annual General Meeting of the Association was held at the Vine and Craven in October 2015. Pictures from the event are available (below) with many thanks to our photographer - Liz Rhys Jones.
VAWM publishes a position statement on control of bovine TB
The Badger protection acts of 1973 and 1992 are identified as the major constraint to effective control of the badger population and bovine TB. The Association calls therefore for a broadening of the criteria whereby Natural England grant licences for culling of badgers and calls on DEFRA to identify as a matter of urgency an effective and humane fumigant for the culling of badgers underground. The statement was recently submitted to the Secretary of State, Liz Truss in November 2015.
The full statements may be read [on this link].
A new book on the need for wildlife management
A new book The Facts of Rural Life on the need for better wildlife management was launched on June 23 at Westminster to a select group of politicians, journalists and wild life experts. The book was warmly endorsed in a short address by Sir Nicholas Soames MP and Kate Hoey MP and the author Charlie Pye-Smith expressed his thanks to all the people countrywide who contributed their expertise to the book.
There is scarcely an acre of Britain which is truly wild. Farming, forestry, hunting, water extraction and urbanisation have all had a profound effect on our flora and fauna. Top predators such as brown bear, lynx and wolf have been lost and as a result many of their prey species no longer have any natural enemies. At the same time, other species have been introduced, frequently with disastrous consequences for livestock, crops and our native wildlife. Think, for example, of grey squirrel, mink, muntjac deer, rabbits and rats.
This prompts a fundamental question: who is responsible for managing wildlife? Some people maintain that everything should be left to nature. But if that were to happen, many species would become increasingly rare, or even extinct. Others – and The Facts of Rural Life makes the case - believe human beings, having so profoundly altered the environment, must take full responsibility for managing wildlife.
Charlie Pye-Smith's new book makes the case for the need for better wildlife management. It draws on extensive research in the field and interviews with scientists, farmers, conservationists, vets, gamekeepers, huntsmen and others involved in the study and management of wildlife, and it addresses many of the crucial conservation controversies of our time. It also exposes the consequences of ill-thought through legislation.
The Facts of Rural Life provides a valuable resource for politicians, the media and anyone genuinely concerned about conservation, animal welfare and the future of Britain's countryside.
The scientific basis for the Badger BCG vaccine is questionable
A recent critical assessment of the scientific basis for the Badger BCG vaccine reveals serious shortcomings.
Although the vaccine has been shown to provide some protection against experimental challenge it fails to protect against infection and all vaccinated animals shed M.bovis post challenge. Furthermore it has no proven efficacy against bovine TB in the field. The likelihood therefore of the vaccine giving protection in the face of the massive infection out there in the badger population is therefore highly improbable. For more information please see our letter to the AHVLA questioning the efficacy and safety of the Badger BCG vaccine (2014b).
The case for culling badgers to control bovine TB is irrefutable
The disease was almost eradicated in the 1980s by a combined strategy of tuberculin testing of cattle and culling of badgers. But following the Zuckerman report of 1980 culling was scaled down and entirely abandoned following the Krebs report in 1997 by the in coming Labour Government. Since when, as may be seen from the chart below, the disease has escalated out of control:
Clearly it won't be controlled by killing more and more cattle as recommended by the so called Independent Scientific Group! Nor is it likely to be controlled by vaccination (see above)
Video about Badgers and bovine TB
Our latest video about Badgers and bovine TB
Law Commission's review of wildlife legislation
The Law Commission has now (July 2013) reported to DEFRA and we await their response. VAWM welcomes the opportunity the review provides to rationalise wildlife legislation. Download the VAWM submission on this link.
Understanding Life in the Wild
New review sheds light on the lives of wild animals
'Wild animals must be treated in ways that do not necessarily apply to domestic animals' according to a new review produced by the VAWM. 'Life in the Wild' highlights the fundamental differences in the way in which wild and domestic animals live and the differing approaches to their management and welfare.
In the wild there are pressures on wild animals, such as disease and population control that do not apply to domestic animals. In an environment that is called 'wild', yet is almost exclusively man-managed, there is a responsibility on man to ensure a proper balance is kept. Life in the Wild describes the detrimental consequences of 'leaving things to nature' and explains why certain actions that are unnecessary and possibly devastating to a domestic animal are essential and natural for wild animals.
Download a copy of Life in the Wild in PDF format on this link