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Bovine TB begins and ends with cattle, with badgers playing at most a minor role. Photo: Will Fisher via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Dodgy data, bad science, rotten politics: why the badger cull is wrong and stupid

Tom Langton

28th April 2016

If we are ever to bring bovine TB under control in Britain's cattle herd, we must begin with the main disease reservoir, writes Tom Langton: the cattle themselves. The insistence on culling badgers has little to do with disease control, and everything to do with the short term economics of the beef and dairy industries, unwilling to sacrifice an iota of production in the interests of a real solution. more...
Failed Bt Brinjal crop in Bangladesh, afflicted by the bacterial wilt to which the variety is highly prone, resulting in near total crop loss for many farmers in 2015. Photo: UBINIG.

BBC's GMO coverage 'fair and accurate'? You decide

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

14th April 2016

There's absolutely no evidence for BBC Panorama's claim of 90% success for Bt brinjal in Bangladesh, writes Claire Robinson. But that has not stopped the BBC Trust from dismissing all complaints against its monstrously dishonest report. Nor has it diminished the jubilation of GMO cheerleaders. more...
US soldiers perform a platoon mounted and dismounted live-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany Oct. 6, 2010. Photo: Gertrud Zach / The U.S. Army via Fliclr (CC BY).

Thought for Earth Day: whether it's badgers or Trident missiles, shooting solves nothing

Linda Pentz Gunter

20th April 2016

Why do we humans resort to shooting, whenever a challenging problem confronts us? Whether it's culling badgers to protect hedgehogs, or renewing the Trident missile threat with expensive upgrades, our species seems determined to upset the balance of nature and harmony on Earth by shooting first - and never asking the questions at all. more...
Anti badger cull demo in Oxford, 25th October 2014. Photo: Snapshooter46 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Badger cull: protestors' legal right to information upheld

Lesley Docksey

1st April 2016

Since December 2011, when it became clear that the government was intent on its badger cull, Defra and Natural England have been flooded with FOI requests about how the culls would be set up, conducted and monitored. The notable success of Anna Dale in cutting through official obfuscation has implications for everyone trying to protect the environment and wildlife. more...
Golden rice is an example of GM which has failed to deliver what has been promised. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA)

The demise of GM and the new future of food

Peter Melchett

8th March 2016

BASF are to halve their GM research and development and reduce the time spent on developing these technologies, writes Peter Melchett. Given the many problems that GM agriculture is facing, and that new non-GE technologies offer such valuable benefits as increased crop yields, does BASF's announcement spell the beginning of the end of GM crops? more...
British badger - will the BVA's Animal Welfare Strategy provide any protection? Photo: Ian Usher via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Vets - rethink your support for English badger culls!

Mark Jones

4th March 2016

The British Veterinary Association has just launched its long-anticipated Animal Welfare Strategy, writes Mark Jones - and very welcome it is too. But it's also completely incompatible with the BVA's support for England's cruel and utterly unscientific badger culls. It's time for an urgent rethink. more...
Dairy farm in Somerset, a county with a high bTB incidence. The farm has a certain dilapidated rustic charm, but it's hardly an environment in which strict biosecurity can be guaranteed. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tall stories: BBC's anti-science support for badger culling

Lesley Docksey

2nd March 2016

A programme to be broadcast on BBC2 promoting badger culling as the answer to bovine TB is praised in the corporation's flagship Radio Times, writes Lesley Docksey. But both are criticised by experts for their inaccuracy and bias. The main reservoir for bTB is, and always has been, the cattle themselves - and that's where the real solutions begin. more...
At least Canterbury's badgers will be safe, for now. Photo: Ian Blacker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Shoot first, ask no questions later: more badger culling, less science

Lesley Docksey

23rd February 2016

With 29 applications for new badger culls, writes Lesley Docksey, the government still has no idea how many badgers there are in the cull areas, or how many of them have TB. Nor does it want to find out. The badger culling project is getting less scientific by the day - or should that be by the square kilometre? more...
These red bananas are naturally red and high in beta carotene. So why the need to develop a patented GM banana that does the same job? Photo: Choo Yut Shing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Gates Foundation: stop 'biopirated' GMO banana feeding trials

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

17th February 2016

The Gates Foundation has received a 57,000 strong petition denouncing its support for a 'biopirated' GM banana program in Africa, and calling on it to suspend a feeding trial on US students, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The banana threatens both the health of the students, say campaigners, and the future of African agriculture. more...
In 2014 many GM Bt brinjal plants either died out prematurely or fruited insignificantly compared to locally available varieties, bringing financial ruin to their cultivators. Photo: New Age (Bangladesh).

Bangladeshi farmers ditch GM brinjal

Farida Akhtar / GMWatch

5th February 2016

Cornell’s 'no pest' Bt brinjal project in Bangladesh appears to be going great with 200 farmers signed up, reports Farida Akhter. Only its not - hardly any of the farmers who grew the GM plants in previous years have come back for more after their crops wilted, failed to ripen, or were devastated by pests. more...
Dadjan Wassinatou, 34, holds a basket of freshly harvested cotton in the village of Zorro, Burkina Faso. Photo: CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Burkina Faso calls time on Monsanto's GM cotton, demands $280m damages

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

1st February 2016

After a run of low quality GM cotton crops with unusually short fibres, Burkina Faso has ended its love affair with Monsanto's Bt cotton, writes Claire Robinson. In a further blow to the company, growers are demanding $280 million compensation for their losses. more...
Why did the badger cross the road? Maybe to get away from an Environment Secretary on a personal mission of death and destruction to Britain's wildlife. Photo: Badger in the Quantock Hills of Somerset by Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Truss's decision: badger culling will continue, with no evidence it works

Lesley Docksey

5th January 2015

Sneaked out shortly before MP's Christmas recess, the Government's decision to 'carry on culling' badgers with no evidence that the slaughter is reducing the incidence of bovine TB is a travesty of process, writes Lesley Docksey. But it does have one useful outcome - it has exposed Defra's claims that the cull is 'science-led' as arrant nonsense. Science never even got a look in. more...

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Badger at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchapel, Surrey. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr (CC BY).

So badger culls are working? Liz Truss, produce your evidence!

Oliver Tickell

18th December 2015

Environment Secretary Liz Truss told Parliament yesterday that England's badger cull is 'working', and needs to be extended into new areas, writes Oliver Tickell. Yet she and the NFU have refused to release the evidence to back up her claims. Now MPs and NGOs are joining the cry: 'publish or be damned!' more...
Tiger cub on the Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Photo: Arindam Bhattacharya via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Coal plant threatens world's largest mangrove forest - and Bangladesh's future

Mowdud Rahman & Greig Aitken

10th December 2015

As COP21 reaches its endgame, there are plans to build 2,440 coal-fired power plants around the world, write Mowdud Rahman & Greig Aitken. Their completion would send global temperatures, and sea levels, soaring. Yet Bangladesh, the world's most 'climate vulnerable' large country, has plans for a 1.3GW coal power plant on the fringes of its World Heritage coastal wetlands. more...
First know the land. Countryside near Welwyn, England. Photo: Greg Knapp via Flickr (CC BY)

Farmers would do better to understand the land than grow GM crops

Julia Wright, Coventry University

11th April 2016

GMO crops are marketed as providing quick fixes to complex problems, writes Julia Wright. But they only perpetuate 'business as usual' farming that's depleting soils, water and biodiversity, and entrench unsustainable models of agriculture in place of agroecological systems that work with, not against, nature. more...
Floods in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2004. 17% of the country may be permanently inundated by rising seas by 2050, displacing 18 million people. Photo: dougsyme via Flickr (CC BY).

Earthquakes, superstorms ... and other little-known perils of climate change

Matthew Blackett / Coventry University

2nd November 2015

Climate change will impact the world in many ways, writes Matthew Blackett. Some of them may be good, like more rain in African drylands and coral atolls adapting to rising seas. But most of them - like coastal flooding, long term drought, earthquakes and stronger tropical storms - will be very challenging. We must increase the resilience of the most vulnerable countries without delay. more...
In the dark: a badger in Pembrokeshire snaffles up a tasty snack. Photo: Chris Frewin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

In the dark: badger cull cost-benefit report is state secret

The Ecologist

2nd November 2015

The Government has refused to publish its report on the cost effectiveness of England's badger cull because it is 'still in draft form'. Campaigners say the real reason is that it reveals the cull to be cruel, ineffective and incredibly expensive. more...
Cattle grazing near Swanage, Dorset, July 2015. Photo: Claire Cox via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The case for the Dorset badger cull

Mel Squires / NFU

31st August 2015

The government is right to extend the badger cull into Dorset, writes Mel Squires in this 'right of reply' article. While culling badgers is only part of the solution of bovine TB, along with annual TB testing of cattle and badger vaccination, it is a necessary measure in areas of high risk. more...
This cull is not the answer to TB in cattle - and now the question will be settled in the High Court. Photo: the badger march outside Parliament, 8th June 2013, by David Clare via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Brian May: I'll take Dorset badger cull to the High Court

The Ecologist

30th August 2015

The government's decision of extend the badger cull to Dorset, and persist with the Somerset and Gloucestershire culls, is 'completely irrational', say badger protection groups - and now they intend to prove it in a High Court legal action, forcing an end to the killing. more...

Framing the Climate Talks

Laurence and Alison Matthews

28 August 2015

Laurence and Alison Matthews explain how the framework for the Paris Climate Change talks are set to skew the debate and distract us from the real agenda which should be to find a global solution to a global emergency. more...
Badger at dusk, British Wildlife Centre. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

English Nature - no more badger cull licences!

Iain McGill & Veterinary colleagues

21st August 2015

English Nature's decision to licence England's badger cull has no scientific basis, write Iain McGill and 26 other distinguished vets in this Open Letter to EN's Chief Scientist. Science Advisory Committee and Board. The body must urgently re-examine the entire issue before issuing any more licences to kill badgers. more...
Bovine TB is above all, about cattle and their biosecurity. Happy cows in England's beautiful Peak District. Photo: Rick Harrison via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The NFU's dishonesty over badger culling

Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey

22nd August 2015

As they argue for an extended and intensified badger cull, some farmers have been making extravagant and improbable claims about giant badgers frolicking with their cattle in the sunshine, write Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey. But despite holding office in the NFU, they display astonishing negligence by failing to adopt the most elementary bio-security measures advised by Defra to keep their cattle TB free. more...
Do not disturb: sleeping badgers in their sett at the British Wildlife Centre. Photo: John Morris via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Do not disturb! Persecuting badgers may perpetuate TB hotspots

Oliver Tickell

17th August 2015

A scientific paper published today says badger persecution may be one of the reasons for the persistence of bovine TB hotspots, writes Oliver Tickell. A further finding is that the main risk factors for bTB are all to do with cattle - not badgers at all. more...
Munnaf's wife Lovely Begum, showing dead Bt brinjal plants. Photo: Faisal Rahman.

GMO propaganda over facts? BBC Panorama and Bt brinjal

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

30th July 2015

A BBC documentary claimed 90% success for a controversial GM crop in Bangladesh, Bt brinjal, writes Claire Robinson. But as journalist Faisal Rahman discovered, there's no evidence to support the claim, the BBC relied on biased sources, and its journalists failed to investigate reports of widespread crop failure. Was it all an exercise in pro-GMO propaganda? more...
Lettuce on an Organic Farm in Havana, Cuba. Photo: David Schroeder via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cuba's warming relations with the US may undermine its agroecological city farms

Julia Wright & Emily Morris

27th June 2015

Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country's agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country's fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness? more...

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