Kill the Cull

Annette J Beveridge - Author, Publisher, Journalist

by Annette J Beveridge

This week, I travelled to London to join the protest Justice for Geronimo. It was a peaceful protest with animal lovers all joining a common cause disgusted by the brutal way in which Geronimo the alpaca met his death. It was emotional at the protest, I won’t lie. I noted many tearful faces in the crowd and really felt for Helen MacDonald who’d endured a four-year battle to save her animal. When you love an animal, you do absolutely everything to protect them, you fight for them and then, when the end comes the loss is unbearable. I saw that in her eyes on Wednesday and I also saw anger and defiance to not let Geronimo’s death be in vain.

Geronimo

We still have collective hope that we can change the bTB process because it is not working, not for alpacas, badgers or for cattle. There are too many animals killed just in case. How can this be right? The preliminary post mortem results were read out while we were there. It was not a surprise to any of us that that Geronimo showed no signs of bTB. However, the news as it rippled through the crowd increased our frustration about the injustice of it all. No apologies from DEFRA, just a media message to refute the information given. Further investigation into the tissue cells will be undertaken in due course but one concern is whether DEFRA be relied upon to reveal the truth? The whole process is flawed. It should have been one of clarity and positive communication, instead, it was one of intimidation and threats. DEFRA refused to discuss potential solutions and even when Helen MacDonald asked for an independent observer at the post mortem, this was denied.

Other alpacas are now at risk just like poor Geronimo. I have personally spoken to people who have lost healthy alpacas due to this very process. What a terrible waste of life. But this affects far more than alpacas. Cattle farmers have long pointed the finger of blame at badgers for spreading bTB although the Badger Trust and scientific research refutes this. However, yet again, additional licenses have been awarded as the badger cull begins again. An anticipated 60,000 badgers will die this year alone due to DEFRA’s ineffective testing system. Note that the badgers are not tested first, they are just killed indiscriminately.

Badgers

What a horrible world we live in where death is sanctioned so easily. Why should animals be treated so badly? What gives us the right to be judge, jury and executioner? I have learned so much about alpacas, badgers and bTB since all this began but one positive is that I have met people who are committed to protecting nature and who are willing to fight for what is right. There has never been a better time to stand up and be counted. TB is a horrible disease but there is a better way of dealing with it than these outdated barbaric measures. It is time to kill the cull.

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