Badger Cull

What is the Badger Cull?

The Badger Cull is exactly what it sound like it is the systematic slaughter of thousands of Badgers each year across the country. It has been implement to try and curb the spread of bTB (Bovine tuberculosis). Even though multiple scientific studies have shown that

  • Badgers are not the primary transmitter of bTB

  • Bad animal husbandry contributes more to the spreading of bTB

  • The culling of badgers encourages the living badgers to move and travel further than they would normally, actively increasing the risk of transmission.

The Facts

In 2019 over 35,000 Badgers where killed as a result of the badger cull. With the number of badgers killed in 2019 exceeds for the first time the number of cattle slaughtered for TB in the same period.

The total number of badgers killed since the cull policy started in 2013 is now 102,349 and the estimated public cost is over £60 million to date. Badgers are now being slaughtered at such a rate across England they could face local extinction in areas of the country they have inhabited since the Ice Age.

Over 70% of the badgers killed in the 2019 cull were as a result of controlled shooting (24,645). This method of killing is condemned by the British Veterinary Association as being inhumane, with the Government's Independent Expert Panel finding in 2013 that it can result in badgers taking over five minutes to die from multiple bullet wounds, blood loss and organ failure.

Only 149 of the 35,034 badgers killed were monitored for humaneness, just 0.6% of the total. 99.4% of the badgers killed by contractors were not subject to any independent monitoring for humaneness, public safety or TB safety controls by Natural England.

Information gathered via Freedom of Information requests to Cheshire Police, as well as data already available in the public domain, has revealed that in the past 3 years of the cull in Cheshire, 2017 to 2019, they have spent £1,622,954.07 on policing the badger cull!

  • 2017 - £813,097.07

  • 2018 - £484,892.00

  • 2019 - £306,969.00

When this is reviewed against the number of badgers killed in the same time period, 2874, it equates to £564.70 per Badger!

There has only been one study commissioned by the Government into the issue of bTB transmission from badgers to cattle. This study took place between 1998 and 2006 and is undeniably the most comprehensive study that exists on bovine TB and badgers. This study was called The Randomised Badger Culling Trial or RBCT. The outcome of the study was clear “…data indicates that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain”. You can read the report in full here.

More recently, the Independent Expert Panel appointed by DEFRA assessed the culls as “ineffective and inhumane” and shortly after reporting on the ineffectiveness of controlled  shooting, the IEP was dissolved.  Currently the badger cull has no independent scientific oversight with the government undermining expert advice and scientific research.

What do the Government Reports Say

  • The Randomised Badger Culling Trail (RBCT) proposes that 5.7% of all bTB outbreaks have been caused by badgers and the target for the cull period is to remove over 70% of badgers across the area.

  • According to the RBCT, on average, around 80% of culled badgers do not have detectable bTB, but this varies according to circumstances.

  • The RBCT suggests that 94.3% of all bovine TB outbreaks come from sources other than badgers although around half originated from a badger-cattle breakdown.

  • Welsh herds are 94% bTb free and bTB is dropping significantly without culling badgers.

  • It is likely that up to 22.8% of badgers killed during the IEP study in 2013 took longer than 5 minutes to die deeming the cull inhumane by IEP standards.

  • DEFRA have not released the public costs of the badger cull in 2016. However taking account of the costs reported for training, monitoring, equipment, policing legal costs and administration for 2013 - 2015 we estimate that at least £30 million has been spent to date to kill just under 15,000 badgers.

  • The cost of the culls exceeds the cost of badger vaccination when it is carried out by volunteers where the training, equipment and vaccine is provided by DEFRA as is the case under the Badger Edge Vaccination scheme.

  • Extending the badger cull into further areas will increase enormously, the cost of the cull for the taxpayer, landowners and animal welfare groups.

  • Over £100M could be spend by 2020 on killing badgers.

Cattle are the true hosts of bovine TB and the primary transmission method of the disease in the UK is cattle to cattle transmission. The Disease is know to be carried by multitude or both wild and domesticated animals, It has even been found in Hunting Hounds, which both the hunt and farmer will quite happily allow to run around in fields and farm buildings with cows 

Alternatives

In recent years it has been proven that badger culling has failed to help decline TB within cattle. Recent reports have shown that there are much more humane and efficient methods of controlling TB than culling. And the fact that Welsh herds are 94% bTb free and bTB is dropping significantly without culling badgers.

  • Frequent Testing On Cattle:

    • Professor Matthew Evans, from Queen Mary University of London, stated: “Of the available bovine tuberculosis control strategies, we believe that how frequently cattle are tested and whether or not farms utilise winter housing have the most significant effect on the number of infected cattle...Our modelling provides compelling evidence, for those charged with controlling bovine TB, that investment in increasing the frequency of cattle testing is a far more effective strategy than badger culling.”​ 

  • Badger and Cattle Vaccination:

    • It is significantly cheaper than the cost of cull. Vaccination would help to control the spread of TB from cattle to cattle and badger to cattle. As DEFRA states:” vaccination of wild badgers in a naturally infected population results in a statistically significant 73.8% reduction in the incidence of positive results to a badger antibody test for TB.”​

  • Rigid Cattle Movement 

    • The movement of cattle is a major transmission route for the spread of bovine TB. A study on the role of cattle movements in bTB spread in France concluded that cattle movements were 'essential in the French bTB dynamics'. 

What Do We Do

Cheshire Hunt Sabs challenge the Badger Cull at every opportunity. 

During the months before the start of the cull we have volunteers in the cull zone sett surveying. Looking for signs of badgers and their setts. So that we know the locations of those we are looking to protect. It also gives us the opportunity to check on setts that we have found in previous years, and to see if they still show signs of life after the previous years cull.

Once the cull has started we have sabs in the field almost continuously. We use non-violent ​direct action to protest against the cull and to save the lives of innocent badgers. This is a protected right that all people have not only at a national level but international level as well, See About Us for more info.

We also engage in legal battles, attempting to bring private and civil prosecutions when possible to make the cull as expensive and difficult as possible.

What Can You Do

You can help end the badger cull by doing the following 

  • Join us in the field

    • Cheshire Hunt Sabs have a continuous presence in the Cheshire Cull Zone for the entire 6 week cull. We use non-violent ​direct action to protest against the cull and to save the lives of innocent badgers. To Join us please send us a message via our 'Contact Us' Page.

  • Support us
    • ​​​If you can't get out into the field with us you can support us in other ways; by donating, to help us with the cost of keeping Sabs in the cull zone. You can purchase items from our Store, or by Donating to our cause. All proceeds go towards our campaigns against all forms of animal cruelty. 
  • Write to your local MP or Councillors
    • The power that you have to influence is greater than most people know. It is the corner stone of our society that we the people can hold those who represent us to account. Write a letter to your representative, Phone them, email them, go to their surgeries. Make your opinion heard and we will see an end to this barbaric practise​
    • If you are unsure on who your representatives are you can find out by entering your postcode at Write To Them.

The CHS store gives you a way to show your support for our efforts.
All proceeds from the store are used to help us protect wildlife in Cheshire and beyond.

Anything you can spare would really help to keep us equipped and in the killing fields of Cheshire and beyond, to save our precious wildlife!

Finding the location of the Cheshire Hunts can be hard due to the sheer scale of the Cheshire countryside. If you have any information that might help us find them. Please let us know.

Whether you can drive a vehicle, read maps, or want to get in the field. If you're passionate about animal rights, we need you.

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