IMMEDIATE: 18 February 2014
GO VEGAN FOR THE BADGERS, SAYS THE VEGAN SOCIETY
Ahead of what is expected to be the biggest ever anti-badger cull march in the UK outside of London, The Vegan Society has a message for those who want to help: replace dairy foods with vegan options and consign inhumane dairy farming practices and badger culling to the past.
Jasmijn de Boo, The Vegan Society CEO, said: "The badger cull is neither effective nor humane, but ultimately unnecessary too. Bovine TB (bTB) could be eradicated if we phased out dairy cow herds. The transmission of bTB between cows and badgers would decrease to the point where they would face no more collateral damage. Removing dairy from your diet, going vegan, and leaving badgers alone is a win-win situation for all."
Dairy farming causes great suffering to calves and cows. Calves are generally taken away from their mothers within a day of birth; males are killed shortly after or end up as veal, while females follow the fate of their mothers. Cows are typically impregnated artificially each year, and produce an unnaturally high milk yield - far higher than would be required for their own calves. Udder infections and lameness are also common, and life expectancy is less than a quarter of their natural lifespan. There is no such thing as cruelty-free dairy milk.
Against a tide of negative public opinion and scientific research repeatedly proving the badger cull to be ineffective in tackling the spread of bTB, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has commissioned a third round of culls in Gloucestershire and west Somerset for later this year. This is despite the previous two rounds failing badly; the chief scientific adviser to Natural England, the authorising body of the 2013 badger cull, called it an "epic failure".
Representatives and volunteers of The Vegan Society will take to the streets of Birmingham on Saturday 21 February between 11am and 4pm to march against the cull, organised by the Birmingham Wildlife Festival. De Boo, who is a guest speaker at the event, said: "Badgers are more likely to be infected with bTB by cattle than the other way around. Cattle-to-cattle interactions account for most cases of infection. Rather than suggesting vaccinations or better testing regimes, the most effective solution of getting rid of bTB is to phase out dairy farming."
De Boo added: "We don't need dairy milk to be healthy. In fact, dairy has been shown to have a range of negative effects on human health, such as increased milk intolerance, skin problems, and a risk of cancer. Plant-based milks are healthy and ethical alternatives whether you love cows, badgers or both."
Advice, information and recipes on the vegan diet and lifestyle are available from www.vegansociety.com and from The Vegan Society's social media channels.
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About The Vegan Society
The Vegan Society is a registered educational charity (no. 279228) that provides information and guidance on various aspects of veganism, including to new and potential vegans, caterers, healthcare professionals, educators and the media. Visit www.vegansociety.com for more information.