Promoting the welfare, conservation and protection of badgers, their setts, and their habitats.
THE COUNTRYSIDE IS NO WINTER WONDERLAND FOR THE BADGERS OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE.
Supplementary culling until end of January in ZONES 1 and 9 (with legal cage trapping until 30th November – meaning that some badgers will spend their last night freezing in snowy conditions).
Added to which, the fox hunting season has just ‘opened’ (in reality there has already been 2 months of illegal hunting of cubs), and there are reports of many blocked setts. This does not just cause badgers distress, but can lead to suffocation.
But at least following the AGM vote (now ratified by board members), foxes, hares and other wildlife should now be able to live on NT land without the dangers that come from hunting with dogs. In Gloucestershire, this will put NT land around Coleshill off limits – the South Gloucestershire licence around Horton Court being dropped a couple of years ago.
The high level of persecution of badgers means that it has been a UK Wildlife Crime Priority since 2009. It is currently being considered for notifiable status by the Home Office (an odd state of affairs considering that the Government are currently intent on killing at least half the badger population in the cull). The latest Wildlife and Countryside Link Report on Wildlife Crime has just been published. This shows that sett interference remains the biggest threat, with a big rise in development related incidents.
The Wildlife and Countryside Link wildlife crime report (November 2021).
YEAR 9 OF THE KILL IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Our badgers are being annihilated.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE – SUPPLEMENTARY CULLS
Area 1 – Gloucestershire YEAR 5 MIN 125 MAX 540
Area 9 – Gloucestershire YEAR 2 MIN. 219 MAX. 1118
In addition, South Gloucestershire is included in some Wiltshire zones.
The guns won’t be silent in Gloucestershire for several months, as in 2 areas badgers are still at risk in the ongoing Supplementary Culls (which started on 1st June). These badgers still have so many nights of danger ahead. A night sky riven with bullets, or freedom and life ending with the slam of a cage door.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE – INTENSIVE CULLS
Area 29 – Gloucestershire YEAR 4 Min. 0 Max. 502
Area 46 – Gloucestershire YEAR 2 Min. 556 Max. 860
As the 2021 Intensive Culls end (after extensions in some areas), our thoughts are with all those badgers who will never again be playing and feeding in the dark woods and moonlit fields, or ever returning to their homes deep in the sanctuary of the earth. Soon, indentations in the ground will be all that remain to mark where badgers brought such exuberant life.
Dictionary definition of CULL: To pick or take someone or something (from a larger group). To gather, collect. To select animals from a group and then kill them in order to reduce the numbers of the group in a controlled manner.
DEFRA definition of CULL: Mass slaughter of a protected species of unconfirmed population size by an inhumane method, with no scientific justification, in order to appease the irrational hatred of a small group of wealthy farmers, shooting estate owners and fox hunts.
The cull is currently being challenged under international wildlife law – giving England a pretty shabby reputation on the world stage when it comes to biodiversity and conservation. The Government are accused of breaking the Bern Convention – which aims to protect species from deliberate acts that threaten the viability of populations. Unfortunately, Bern has put the case on standby for 2 years which – given the extinction threatening level of killing – may well be too late. In this instance, justice needs to move as speedily as a discharged bullet.
“Failing to consider the impact of removing badgers from our landscape, in numbers that can lead to local extinction, will have a devastating effect on them and on our ecosystem as a whole”.
Dawn Varley, Acting CEO of Badger Trust
The 2021 Intensive and Supplementary licences will permit the killing of a total of 75,930 badgers in 2021 (which now covers over almost 25% of England’s entire land area). This would push the number of dead over 200,000 killed since 2013. Almost half the estimated population of 485,000 (and this is very much an estimate). The vast majority will die an agonising death by free shooting (which the Orwellian NE prefer to term ‘removed’ and ‘controlled’ – clearly the crime that dare not speak its name).
Wonder how Tony Juniper feels signing off on this? Good day at the office? Obviously it does not bother him overmuch as he’s been the one weilding the executioner’s biro for a few years now. Is it a bonus for every area target hit, Tone? And to think he used to be a Green Party member and work for WWF and Friends of the Earth. Devil..soul…sold..
‘The scientific case is as clear as it can be: this cull is not the answer to TB in cattle. The government is cherry-picking bits of data to support its case.’ (Lord John Krebs). He also called culling ‘mindless’.
‘I just don’t know anyone who is really informed who thinks this is a good idea’ (Professor John Bourne).
‘All the evidence shows that culling badgers increases the proportion of badgers that have TB’ (Rosie Woodroffe).
At the start of the year, Dr. Iain McGill gave the Oxfordshire Mammal Group a highly informative overview of this ongoing, inhumane and senseless tragedy. Unscientific, expensive and immoral – we’d call it cruel, corrupt and criminal.