Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Bovine TB

Bovine TB: Opportunity to comment on a Supplementary Badger Control Licence within the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire and adjoining parts of Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Background

The government published its Policy on Bovine TB and Badger Control in England in December 2011.

To date, almost 15,000 badgers have been shot and killed under license, using either controlled shooting (targeting free-ranging badgers attracted to bait points at night with rifles), or trapping-and-shooting, in a total of 10 licensed zones across parts of 6 counties in the west and South-West of England.

Badgers in the original ‘pilot’ cull zones in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset have already suffered 4 years of licensed persecution, during which time more than 3,650 individuals have been killed, the majority by ‘controlled shooting’, a method deemed to be inhumane and ineffective by the Government’s own expert panel and the British Veterinary Association. There is no evidence at all to suggest that bovine TB has reduced as a direct result of these culls.

In spite of this, Natural England is now considering an application for a supplementary license that will allow culling to continue in these areas and adjoining parts of Herefordshire and Worcestershire for more years to come, which could even see badgers disappear altogether from parts of our countryside where they have lived for millennia.

DEFRA is inviting comments from people who think they might be directly affected by the activities carried out under a supplementary badger control licence in these areas.

How to respond

We are urging supporters who live in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire to respond to the consultation, expressing any concerns they may have about the potential local impacts of badger culling.

Note that the consultation is focussed not on the legitimacy of the policy itself, but rather on the impacts a culling license might have on local people, their lives and businesses. Natural England is not revealing the precise location for which the license application has been submitted, only the list of counties concerned.

We urge respondents to focus their responses on:

  • The fact that four years of culling in the original zones has not resulted in any clear disease control benefits, and there is no evidence to support further culling;

  • The local disruption that badger culling might cause, including:

    a) Limitations to public access in the cull zone through the period of culling (nominally 6 weeks although this may be extended);

    b)The presence of people with firearms at night in local areas and the dangers this might pose;

    c)The noise of firearms being discharged at night and other associated activities that culling entails;

    d)The inconvenience of a potentially heavy police presence in the area;

  • Continued conflicts within local communities already deeply divided after four years of culling over the rights and wrongs of the culls;

  • The potential impacts of continued badger culling on other wildlife through the disruption of local ecosystems, which could result, for example, in increased numbers of foxes with consequences for ground nesting birds and other protected wild animals;

  • The continued negative impacts supplementary culls might have on local businesses, particularly those reliant on tourism which might be affected if visitors stay away because of badger culls;

  • The public costs of the culls, including policing costs. It has been estimated that, to date, the total public cost of culling is in the region of £40 million.

How to respond

Details of the consultation can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/bovine-tb-comment-on-a-badger-control-licence-application-or-expression-of-interest-20172

Local residents in the counties concerned can respond through an online form at:

http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/badgersurvey2017/

Local residents and others can also respond by email to:

BTB@naturalengland.org.uk

Or in writing to:

Natural England
BM 6283
London
WC1N 3XX

 

The consultation period finishes on 2nd August 2017.

We would urge respondents to copy your response and express your concerns to your local parish, town, and/or county councillor, as well as your local Member of Parliament (https://www.writetothem.com/).

 

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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