How long can badgers be left alive in cage traps?

In May 2021, Defra revised its guidelines for Cage Trapping & Shooting Badgers under Licence. In the past, licenced cull operatives had to kill badgers caught in traps by mid-day. Now there’s less time allowed.

Badgers in traps have to be killed by:

  • 9.30am – June, July & August
  • 10.30am – September
  • 11.30am – October & November

So, any incidents of live badgers found in cages outside these times must be reported to the police with documentary evidence (photo & location via What3Words) and your local badger group. Serious breaches of the Best Practice Guidelines may result in cull operatives either losing their licence or being dismissed by the cull company.

Supplementary culling is now taking place in supposedly 21 areas from 1st June 2021 to end of January 2022, though nothing is confirmed since the licences are not yet in the public domain. However, an Opportunity to Comment (OTC) on new applications for seven areas by Natural England received seven responses, all of which were against licencing supplementary culling in new areas.

Guidelines for free-shooting badgers was also released in May 2021 and badgers in supplementary cull zones can be free-shot until end of January 2022. So whatever the government briefs, there’s no end to intensive badger culling in sight. As always, badgers need friends on the ground to be informed, aware and proactive because all sett disturbance is still illegal and must be reported to the relevant police force in your county.

So stay vigilant when you’re out walking in the countryside and if you want to help badgers and meet like-minded friends, you can find a local group near you.