Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset destined to suffer further culls

4 September 2017

Categories: Homepage News, UK Wildlife News

On 30th August 2017, Natural England announced that ‘supplementary badger control licences’ had been issued to companies in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

The licenses will allow the culling companies to continue to shoot badgers for a further five years across zones that have already been subject to four years of licensed culling.

Since 2013, more than 3,500 badgers have been killed across these two zones, at least half by so-called ‘controlled shooting’, a method deemed inhumane by the Government’s own Expert Panel and opposed by the British Veterinary Association. The supplementary licenses allow shooters to target up to 580 additional badgers in the Gloucestershire cull zone, and up to 610 in Somerset.

In response to the news, Born Free’s Associate Director Mark Jones, who is also a vet, said:

“The culling of badgers has been proven time and time again to be unscientific, ineffective and unnecessary, and the use of controlled shooting has been declared inhumane by veterinary experts. There is no evidence whatsoever that the killing of more than 3,500 badgers over the past four years across these two areas has made the slightest difference to bovine TB in cattle; indeed many experts fear it could be making things considerably worse. Yet the Government has seen fit to issue what are effectively general licenses that will allow shooters to massacre hundreds more badgers, causing further devastation and suffering to already depleted and disrupted populations of supposedly protected native wild animals. 

“There is no evidence to suggest that further culls will benefit farmers and their cattle. The continued pursuit of this politically-driven policy, in the face of overwhelming public opposition and a lack of any evidence for its efficacy, is nothing short of a national disgrace.”

Supplementary licenses were the subject of a public consultation earlier this year, with the majority of the respondents expressing opposition to the proposals

In addition to the supplementary culls, culling is expected to continue in 8 additional existing zones and to begin in as many as 10 new zones this autumn.

Jones continued: “Tens of thousands more badgers are set to suffer and die this year and over the coming years, in the name of controlling a disease of cattle which has spread as a direct result of lax farming practices over many years. The solution to this problem lies in strict controls over cattle testing and movement, strong biosecurity measures, compulsory risk-based trading, and ultimately vaccination. Slaughtering wild animals is no solution.”

Born Free continues to work with government officials and veterinary bodies to end the culls.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
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