Cull

Currently happening in a field near you.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE AREA 1: Along with Somerset, the original Pilot areas of the West and East zones near Gloucester and Tewkesbury. If there are any badgers left here, then they are facing their 9th year of killing.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE AREA 9: North Cotswolds, north of A40 up to Evesham area. Year 6 of killing – which will last 8 months. The upper target here is an horrific 1,118 badgers. This area is characterised by large shooting estates – maybe they’ve confused bird flu with bTB.

Free shooting has been condemned by vets as inhumane and with vegetation high at this time of year, it will be even more difficult to get a clean shot.

1,824 Gloucestershire badgers were killed in the 2020 culls.

The reality of a countryside without badgers.

Pre-cull, this was a very large sett that extended along most of the edge of a wood. The wood was protected, but as soon as the badgers left its leafy safety, they were shot. The wood is surrounded by open fields with nasty, large dairy farms to 2 sides. The badgers didn’t stand a chance. So, get used to a countryside from which badgers are absent. Slight indentations in the ground, increasingly faint tracks in the grass and location names with the prefix Brock, will be all to denote that badgers once made their home on – and in- the earth.

NEWS: 9.6.2021

New regulations for cage shooting. Badgers have to be killed no later than 9.30 a.m. from June to August (previously noon). Presumably, the change in regulations was as badgers (which could included lone, unweaned cubs) were suffering in the heat, trapped for several hours in a cage before being blasted to oblivion. It seemingly coming as a surprise to NE that summers are hot – but then, badger welfare is never top of their concerns.

143,241 badgers slaughtered in the last 8 years.

40,892 in 2020.

The death toll so far – with a possible 8 more years of culling, including 2 more years of expansion in to new areas.

The above figures exclude the Supplementary culls in 2020 in which 2,250 badgers were killed.

The proposals recently announced by the Government as part of a consultation process will result in approximately another 130,000 badgers being killed, taking the total to almost 300,000. The total badger population in England and Wales was estimated to be around 485,000 in 2017 – and this was very much an estimate. The actual figure could be much lower and fluctuates according to environmental factors – such as this very dry Spring or the flooding that recently hit the East Zone of Gloucestershire.

Article 9 of the Berne Convention prohibits causing the local disappearance of, or serious disturbance to, badgers and that culling

not be detrimental to the survival of the population concerned’.

Jan 28 2021

Badger Trust appalled as latest badger cull figures show highest kill rate yet

Badger Trust today expressed horror and outrage as a further 38,642 badger deaths were recorded by the Government as part of its ongoing badger cull campaign. This brings the total to over 140,000 since 2013, with a further 60,000 plus expected in the next two years.

Dawn Varley, Acting CEO at Badger Trust, commented:

‘The reality of the badger cull is in that stark number – 38,642 badgers killed – an increase of over 10% on 2019’s figures, and 140,991 deaths overall since this policy was adopted in 2013. And the total will continue to rise, likely going beyond 200,000 by the end of 2022, with a further two years already locked into current expansion plans and four-year licences still to run. The culling policy is inhumane and unnecessary at best, and at worst it’s a smokescreen and ineffective strategy to appease farmers’.

Badger Trust has consistently questioned the basis of the cull. The continued approach assigns badgers a major role in the transmission of bTB to cattle, when core issues of cattle movements and related farm biosecurity are routinely ignored.

She continued: ‘We fundamentally challenge the need to kill badgers, when the science consistently fails to pinpoint them as the major cause of transmission of this terrible disease in cattle. Instead of the new consultation, the Government would do well to put time and effort into bringing a cattle vaccine to market, hopefully once and for all dealing with this terrible problem for animals and farmers alike.’

The announcement of the 2020 figures came shortly after the widely publicised announcement of a new consultation into the Government’s policy to eradicate bovine TB (bTB), the reason for the badger cull. This was picked up as a ‘good news’ story and reported as a possible ‘end in sight’ message to the cull. The kill figures were then released to little fanfare.

As stated in Badger Trust’s initial response to the consultation announcement, a further statement will be made once a full review of the Government’s announcement and consultation details has been completed.

Further information:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-summary-of-badger-control-monitoring-during-2020/summary-of-2020-badger-control-operations

Summary of 2020 supplementary badger control operations – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Read the 2020 badger cull figures summary report

Read the full Government consultation statement

Badger Trust initial response to the consultation statement

Guidance to Natural England: Licences to kill or take badgers for the purpose of preventing the spread of bovine TB under section 10(2)(a) of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (publishing.service.gov.uk)