Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Political Animals 2015: Badger cull in England

Posted: 25 September 2015. Updated: 29 September 2015


ADI joins eminent experts, veterinarians, MPs and the public in opposing the badger cull on scientific, as well as economic and welfare grounds. With the pilot culls in Gloucestershire, Somerset and now Dorset underway, the government is pursuing the policy and setting aside the scientific and economic arguments against this poorly conceived scheme. ADI is calling for a review of the bovine TB control strategy and a move away from the ineffective, inhumane killing of wildlife towards more frequent testing, stringent disease controls and vaccination.

Badger cull facts

  • The pilot culls are carried out over 4 years, for 6-week periods
  • Somerset and Gloucestershire have entered into their third year, with Dorset in its first year
  • The aim is to reduce the local badger population by at least 70%
  • Three out of four of culls to date have fallen well short of the minimum target, with a low of less than 40%
  • 2,476 badgers have been killed (2013/4)
  • £16.7 million has been spent (2012-4) – £6,775 per badger
  • The success of more frequent testing of cattle herds has been demonstrated in other parts of Britain: Scotland has been declared TB free since 2009 following more frequent tests of high risk herds; Wales has had annual or more frequent testing in place since January 2010 for ALL herds, with a 23% reduction in incidents announced last year. However, England continues to conduct less frequent testing – every 4 years – except in areas where there is a high incidence of TB, where annual testing is carried out.

3 reasons why the cull must stop
1. A scientific study published in 2007 after the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, which was conducted over 9 years, concluded: “badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the future control of cattle TB in Britain”.
2. An independent expert panel commissioned by the government last year found that the badger culls were ineffective. The panel also noted that up to 18% of badgers killed took longer than 5 minutes to die, over three times the 5% standard set by the government.
3. “The main conclusion” of an analysis of government TB statistics published in September 2015: “more frequent testing is leading to lower TB infections in cattle both in terms of TB prevalence as well as TB incidence.” Co-author Professor Matthew Evans, of Queen Mary University of London concluded “It is clear that testing cattle frequently is the most effective way of reducing bovine TB.”

Read other articles from Political Animals 2015

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