The RSPCA have announced Michael Gove as their Politician of the Year in the RSPCA Honours Awards – despite the politician increasing badger culls around the UK since becoming Secretary of State for DEFRA (Department for Environmental, Food & Rural Affairs).
The charity announced their decision on Twitter, and faced backlash from the public for their choice. The RSPCA are renowned for their misguided judgements, which often don’t align with their status as an animal welfare charity. Notably, the RSPCA Assured logo is branded gleefully on meat and eggs, regardless of the practice that these animals are unnecessarily being killed for food – surely, that’s something an animal welfare charity would be against?
The RSPCA do look out for animals, but they are known for having a moral compass that is slightly off kilter. They offer help and support for some animals, and for some people, but penalise others who are doing their best to look after animals. Their decisions in some cases are up for debate, especially when there are animal welfare charities doing more work that isn’t hypocritical of their core values – to ensure the best wellbeing of animals.
Does he deserve to be honoured in their awards?
The decision to make Michael Gove their Politician of the Year is yet another example to add to their string of contradictory choices, and when Twitter uses argued this, the charity explained their stance on the badger cull that is happening around the UK.
One reply to a member of the public read: “I’m sorry you feel that way. We appreciate your concerns – we’ve been campaigning against the badger cull for years and continue to do so. Michael Gove has taken huge strides forward for animal welfare, and we look forward to seeing how else we can improve animal welfare together.” By selecting Michael Gove as their Politician of the Year, it could be seen as them contradicting their view on the badger culls, seeing as they actively support the politician who is enforcing them.
Badger culls are opposed by many in the UK due to how ineffective the practice is, as bovine TB is still rife in the countryside where the inhumane culls are taking place. In March this year, the Dorset Wildlife Trust commented on the cull, saying: “We all want to see a solution to bovine TB, but badger culling is not the answer.
“We want the government to instead prioritise work on vaccines for cattle and also for badgers, as well as on improving testing and supporting landowners to improve on farm bio-security.”
In 2017, 19,274 badgers were killed, a significant increase from 10,886 in 2016. In May 2018, the government introduced a scheme whereby farmers are allowed to kill badgers, getting £50 per badger. This disgusting practice needs to end, as not only is it unnecessary and inconclusive to preventing the spread of bovine TB, but it is also a waste of public money.
Dominic Dyer, head of the Badger Trust, said: “Gove is embarking on the most expensive and widespread slaughter of a protected species in memory. By 2020, 100,000 badgers will have been slaughtered across England Wales at a cost to taxpayers of £100m.”
If you’re a UK resident, you can sign the petition here which is opposing the badger culls around the UK. There are several organisations around the UK, such as the League Against Cruel Sports who are working to end the badger culls and demand data from previous culls.