Government’s plan to phase out badger cull must mean end to cull licences now

Government’s plan to phase out badger cull must mean end to cull licences now

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is urging people to respond to a consultation calling upon the Government to stop issuing badger cull licences with immediate effect.

Recent Government proposals suggested an end to granting cull licenses in 2022, but this could still result in another 130,000 badgers being killed over the next four years.

As cull licences last up to four years, the culling of badgers is likely not to end until at least 2026. Over this period, 12,000 more badgers could be culled in Staffordshire and 130,000 UK-wide killed needlessly. 2,791 Staffordshire badgers were culled under the DEFRA licence in 2020.

Based on their analysis of the consultation, The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to:

1. Stop issuing badger cull licences immediately. This will bring an end to the badger cull sooner than proposed, saving tens of thousands of badgers.

2. Implement a cattle vaccine. Cattle vaccination offers the best long-term way to reduce bovine TB in the cattle population.

3. Review how cattle are transported around the country and ensure measures are in place to prevent infection spread from cattle to cattle.

4. Fast track the transition from culling to badger vaccination

Julian Woolford, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are calling on the Government to end the culling of badgers immediately.

“There has been plenty of confusion in the media that the badger cull is coming to an end – but the reality is that badger culling will continue until at least 2026.

“If that happens, thousands of badgers will still be culled for years to come. We recognise the conscious of the hardship that bTB causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. But a cull is not the answer.”

The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the public to respond to the consultation which ends on 24th March – and help end the cull. This is the latest step in the fight by The Wildlife Trusts to end the killing of badgers, a protected species.

The Wildlife Trusts have always been firmly opposed to the badger cull and believe that it is an ineffective tool in the fight against bovine tuberculosis (bTB). To date, over 140,000 badgers have been culled [2]. The proposals recently announced by the Government as part of a consultation process will result in approximately another 130,000 badgers being killed, taking the total to almost 300,000. The total badger population in England and Wales was estimated to be around 485,000 in 2017 [3].

Visit to respond to the Government consultation on the badger cull – before 24th March 2021.