Prince Charles Wanted Brits to Eat More Meat and Kill More Badgers

Posted by on May 16, 2015 | Permalink

The recently released “black spider” memos – letters between Prince Charles and government Ministers – revealed that the Prince of Wales wanted Britain to eat more meat and kill more badgers. The letters are about 10 years old now, and we hope Prince Charles’ thinking has since evolved, because he couldn’t have been more wrong.

As a self-proclaimed environmentalist, Prince Charles should know that raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy and water. A United Nations report found that eating meat is “one of the … most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past are now virtually all distant memories. On today’s factory farms, where the vast majority of Britain’s meat comes from, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy windowless sheds, wire cages, farrowing crates and other confinement systems. These animals will never raise families, root in the soil, build nests or do anything else that is natural and important to them. They won’t even get to feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto lorries bound for slaughter.

And the intensive rearing and movement of cattle in the meat and dairy industries don’t just harm cows. They’re also responsible for the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB). Some British farmers may want to use badgers as scapegoats, but the rest of us know that there’s no justification for gunning them down. In fact, it’s Britain’s love for burgers that’s killing the badgers.

Badgers are native animals and British icons who are much loved by the majority of the British public, and killing them is not the answer to eradicating bovine TB. Not only are badger culls inhumane and impractical, they’ve also been demonstrated to be ineffective in tackling the disease, as has been made repeatedly clear by all the leading scientific experts. Even an independent study of the effects of badger culls on TB in cattle commissioned by the government concluded in 2007 that “badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain”.

The meat and dairy industries are behind the inhumane badger cull, putting pressure on the government to make wildlife the scapegoat for some of the consequences of intensive cattle-rearing practices. One way to help badgers – and cows, too – is to stop supporting industries that hurt and kill animals by switching to a vegan diet.