Pledge to oppose badger cull farms

Wildlife charity Care for the Wild is urging organic food companies to refuse the use of products from badger cull farms.

MTJ sister magazine The Grocer reported that the charity has called on the Soil Association to refuse to certify organic products from badger cull farms.

The wildlife charity claimed the move could help boost finances and was important due to animal welfare concerns amongst customers.

Care for the Wild CEO Philip Mansbridge said: "Organic sales have been dropping over the last couple of years, while brands such as RSPCA Freedom Foods and Fairtrade have increased. So despite the recession, people are still making choices over what they eat."

Mansbridge explained that a survey carried out by Care for the Wild last year showed that one in three organic buyers could potentially boycott organic dairy products from cull farms.

"The cull could cost the organic sector £175m if they aren’t clearly anti-cull. On the other hand, making a stand could increase their customers, as people try to find genuine ‘cull-free’ products," he added.

Soil Association chief executive, Helen Browning, stated that the science around the issue of badger culling is "still contested" and that farmers licensed by the Soil Association all have different views.

She claimed: "It would not make sense for consumers to stop buying organic if they disagree with badger culling when independent reviews have shown that no other system of farming has higher animal welfare standards and government studies have shown that organic farms have up to 50% more wildlife."

Browning said that the issue needs to be given serious consideration because it is part of a wide "moral debate". However, she confirmed: "We will not be making changes to our certification standards and decisions on whether to allow badgers to be culled on their land is something individual organic farmers will need to decide."


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