Our New Year Message 2014

26 September, 2012

Our New Year Message 2014

Wishing you all a Happy New Year from Brian, Anne and the Save Me team – and thank you for all your support throughout 2013. In 2014 we will continue to work to stop the roll-out of the badger cull.

We will take action through the courts if necessary, as the cull is unscientific, unethical and cannot work (and is probably making the TB problem worse). We await the report of the Independent Expert Panel and expect it to condemn the cull, following the shambolic performance by the NFU in the two cull zones last year.

We send this appeal below openly to the gentlemen of the IEP – the Independent Expert Panel.

Gentlemen:

You are the arbiters of decency in the assessment of this unprecedented action of the Government, killing badgers on a large scale, in the certain knowledge that it may make TB breakdowns worse rather than better in British cattle. Only you stand between us and the ‘roll-out’ of wholesale senseless carnage the length and breadth of Britain. On behalf of over 300,000 British citizens, we ask that the IEP take a broad, truly independent view of what is humane and what is not. We ask that you apply moral standards of decency as high as those of the majority of the British public, who respect the rights of sentient creatures to a fair deal in life.

You will have been assessing how long it took for the animals to die, though you have only been allowed to see a pitifully small percentage of the animals whose carcasses that ended up in the shooter's possession. You will not be able to assess the suffering of those badgers known to have escaped wounded, and crawled off to die slowly in some neglected corner.

But whether these animals had a humane death or not, we ask you to ask the question of whether killing huge numbers of mostly healthy social wild mammals CAN be humane. How can such action fail to cause physical and mental suffering? Especially when cubs are left to die of starvation in the setts when their parents never return. Perturbation is the reason that culling is predicted to fail as a means of eradicating TB. But it is also a euphemism for the agony of families of badgers smashed forever. There is much more than physical pain involved here. This is mass slaughter of the innocent, and the destruction of an ancient society of highly evolved sentient creatures.

We have always believed that badger culling will be clearly proved to be scientifically unsupportable, practically unworkable and ineffective – even counter-productive – and an economic disaster. All of these statements are now emerging as true.

But we believe we have the right, after all the evidence is in, to insist that the decision to reject killing as a solution must rest on MORAL grounds. Because only when the public perception of what is no longer acceptable morally becomes clear – only then can British politics and law move on to a place in which the voices of the voiceless will be heard and will count. Only then does ALL this cruelty become forever unacceptable, and illegal, and some day cruelty itself will be eradicated from our country – our world.

After a passionate debate in Westminster Hall on 11th December, compassion is no longer a distant and unattainable dream in the UK. The edifice of the warped and wrong philosophy of culling is beginning to crumble. We believe a strong, courageous statement from the IEP can hasten that process, and help to bring about its long-overdue demise, in favour of a policy of immediate vaccination of badgers, and, much more importantly, the prioritising of vaccination of cattle. 

THE FIVE PANELISTS

Ranald Munro, a forensic pathologist and former head of pathology at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, and former president of the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA).

Neville Gregory, a professor of animal welfare physiology at the Royal Veterinary College.

Piran White, a personal chair and deputy head of the Environment Department at York University, - Timothy Roper, emeritus professor at the University of Sussex and an expert in badger behavior and - Peter Watson, executive director of the Deer Initiative and a non-executive director of Deer Management Qualifications, complete the panel.

Badger and Cattle Vaccination

We will launch the Badger and Cattle vaccination Initiative (www.BACVI.co.uk) later this month. Our first three zones to run vaccination programs will be Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, and we hope you will support these projects as an alternative to the slaughter of badgers. Badger vaccine has been used for many years and is shown to have been successful by the Government’s own data. Vaccination of just 30% of the adults means that 79% of the newborn cubs are protected. The government have just one trial area looking into vaccination and have been heavily criticised by its own BTB select committee for missed opportunities. 

Many ‘Wildlife Trusts’ are now running their own vaccination programs, since they are opposed to the badger cull. We will continue to pursue the licensing and deployment of cattle vaccine, and will make sure our Government complies with EU directives, and prioritises vaccine trials, so that vaccination our cattle becomes a reality in the next 10 years. (by comparison, the flawed and failing badger cull has been described as a 25 year project by Owen Paterson) 

The EU have made their position very clear, along with their willingness to support development of cattle vaccine for the UK. Our government, shockingly, has not yet fulfilled its obligations to get the process with the result that the vaccine is not approved here, and that must change. It is interesting that the Government incorrectly quotes the ‘success’ in many countries of wildlife culling, yet they ignore the success of cattle vaccine in other countries, including New Zealand.

Badger and Cattle vaccine is available and we should be using it NOW.

Fox Hunting

We will continue to oppose any return of legalised hunting with dogs. We do not support fox hunting but we do support the legal drag hunting that is practiced by many hunts in the UK. We will continue to expose the truth behind fox hunting and those hunts that continue to flout the law. We will be getting involved with genuine Drag Hunting as more and more people chose this option. Drag Hunting is a popular and credible event in its honest form and we will endeavour to clarify the distinction between the two.

Fox hunting is inhumane and has no place in 2014 in the civilised world. More and more MP’s are confirming their opposition to fox hunting and do not wish to see it return. The pubic do not want to see the return of cock fighting, badger baiting or fox hunting and neither do we.

Finally, we have decided for 2014 to reintroduce into the mainstream the phrase "Animal Rights”. Animals deserve, need and must have rights.

Pro-cruelty lobbyists have attacked us in recent months for referring to our treatment of other creatures in human terms and daring to suggest that the same rules of decency should apply. We've been comparing the badger cull to the indiscriminate massacres of human beings in history, and likening the fight for justice for animals to the fight against slavery, and discrimination against women.

Now Desmond Tutu has spoken in defense of animals and their rights. Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the world's greatest fighters for justice and equality, and was a leader along, alongside Nelson Mandela, in the battle to rid South Africa of racial discrimination. 28th December 2013

“We must fight injustice to animals as we do injustice to blacks, women and gays 
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“I have spent my life fighting discrimination and injustice, whether the victims are blacks, women, or gays and lesbians. No human being should be the target of prejudice or the object of vilification or be denied his or her basic rights.

“But there are other issues of justice – not only for human beings but also for the world’s other sentient creatures. The matter of the abuse and cruelty we inflict on other animals has to fight for our attention in what sometimes seems an already overfull moral agenda. It is vital, however, that these instances of injustice not be overlooked.

“I have seen firsthand how injustice gets overlooked when the victims are powerless or vulnerable when they have no one to speak up for them and no means of representing themselves to a higher authority. Animals are in precisely that position. Unless we are mindful of their interests and speak out loudly on their behalf, abuse and cruelty go unchallenged.

“It is a kind of theological folly to suppose that God has made the entire world just for human beings, or to suppose that God is interested in only one of the millions of species that inhabit God’s good earth,” says Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his forthright foreword to the Global Guide to Animal Protection to be published by the University of Illinois on 30 December.

In his first major statement on animal welfare, Archbishop Tutu says “Our dominion over animals is not supposed to be despotism. We are made in the image of God, yes, but God – in whose image we are made - is holy, loving, and just. We do not honor God by abusing other sentient creatures.

If it is true that we are the most exalted species in creation, it is equally true that we can be the most debased and sinful. This realisation should give us pause … There is something Christ-like about caring for suffering creatures, whether they are humans or animals.”

Archbishop Tutu concludes with his warm support for the Global Guide to Animal Protection and urges the reader to seek justice and protection for all creatures, humans and animals alike: “Churches should lead the way by making clear that all cruelty – to other animals as well as human beings – is an affront to civilised living and a sin before God.”

Desmond Tutu is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-apartheid work. Nelson Mandela described Tutu as: "sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humour, Desmond Tutu's voice will always be the voice of the voiceless”.

2014 will be another very busy year for Save Me. Please continue to support us into a future where wildlife has a voice, and our legal system protects the moral RIGHT of all creatures to a decent free life and a decent death.

Brian, Ann, and the Save Me Team