Government U-turn on promises to end badger culling

Andrew Parkinson/2020VISION

Staffordshire Wildlife Trusts is deeply disappointed that thousands of healthy badgers will again be shot in this year’s expanded cull despite the Government’s promise to move away from lethal control.

This is the largest ever seasonal cull and will bring the total shot to 35% of the UK’s badger population, with more than 70,000 badgers shot this autumn across the UK. The Government has reissued three cull zones in Staffordshire. The number of permitted badgers culled could be as high as 5515 this year in the county. 

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has long-campaigned against the culling of badgers and advocates the development of a cattle vaccine instead, along with DEFRA-funded badger vaccination and incentives aimed at improving biosecurity on farms and during the movement of cattle.

The county’s largest nature conservation charity, who were one of the first Trusts to adopt a programme of badger vaccination, will not give permission for a cull to take place on its nature reserves and are currently undertaking a badger vaccination programme on a number of locations across the county.

 

This is another staggering and deeply disappointing government U-turn which will result in thousands of healthy badgers dying across the UK’s countryside this autumn.

In March - following a review by Professor Godfray - the Government promised to move away from lethal control and expand measures including vaccination. However, after seven years of badger culling, the Government has failed again to move forward with its own advice and is continuing licensed culling in Staffordshire.
Julian Woolford, CEO of Staffordshire Widllife Trust

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust remains adamant that a cull is not necessary for the control of bTB. Alternative approaches including vaccination should be fully implemented. Culling does not address the primary cause of outbreaks of bTB, cattle-to-cattle transmission. This government has repeatedly said it will be guided by the science, yet it seems to be ignoring its own advice.

Find our more about our Badger Appeal and response to the badger cull here

Badgers - nov 2018 update