Government U-turn on promises to end badger culling

Photo: Andrew Parkinson/2020VISION

Largest ever cull authorised this autumn – bringing the total shot to 35% of UK’s badger population

The Wildlife Trusts are aghast that more than 70,000 healthy badgers will be shot this autumn in the government’s largest ever seasonal cull. 

The move comes despite the government’s promise just six months ago to support badger vaccination and move away from shooting this protected species.

The cull will result in the deaths of badgers which have been vaccinated by volunteers in government-funded programmes. 

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Essex Wildlife Trust's position statement

Editor’s notes:

References

A strategy for achieving Bovine Tuberculosis Free Status for England: 2018 review, led by Professor Sir Charles Godfray 

The figure for total estimated UK badger population is taken from Judge, J., Wilson, G.J., Macarthur, R. et al. Abundance of badgers (Meles meles) in England and WalesSci Rep 7, 276 (2017).

DEFRA publishes the annual numbers of badgers culled under licence for individual years.

Trusts have been vaccinating badgers in areas of Derbyshire, Shropshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Oxfordshire.

The 6 counties where culling is taking place for the first time are:

Derbyshire
Oxfordshire
Leicestershire
Lincolnshire
Shropshire
Warwickshire

The total 11 additional areas for this autumn are:

Avon
Derbyshire
Gloucestershire
Herefordshire
Oxfordshire
Leicestershire
Lincolnshire
Somerset
Shropshire
Wiltshire
Warwickshire

Badger culls have previously taken place in the following locations:

Avon
Cheshire
Cornwall
Cumbria
Devon 
Dorset
Gloucestershire
Herefordshire
Somerset
Staffordshire 
Wiltshire