Defra is asking for your thoughts with two new consultations (a) issuing badger cull licences to more than 10 new areas per year and (b)
Defra is asking for your thoughts with two new consultations (a) issuing badger cull licences to more than 10 new areas per year and (b) extending the badger cull to low risk areas.
Based on science, conservation, and animal welfare issues, here are example responses submitted by a grass-roots badger organisation. You may refer to the information in these to help you to formulate your own responses, using your own words*.
Since the whole of England is now threatened with badger culling, it’s important that as many people as possible respond. Previous evidence shows that if there’s a lot of opposition, the Government does listen.
*As always, you must use your own words as the Government uses an algorithm to detect cut & paste and remove such responses.
Defra has announced three public consultations on further expansion of the Government’s badger cull policy. Make no mistake, this signals an intention to cull in an unknown number of areas in eight more counties: Avon, Berkshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.
This will be in addition to the ongoing culls in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Cheshire.
What can I do?
It is vital that as many people respond to the consultation before the closing time of 11.59pm on Monday 19th March. With such a tight deadline, we’ve put together some information to help you respond quickly:
Please use it to put your response in your own words otherwise it will not count. There is, of course, much more that could be said, so feel free to add your own thoughts and information.
There are two other consultations with deadlines in early April so we’ll post some notes on these later.
On the day of the Winter Solstice, the Government released the number of badgers killed in the 2017 badger cull, although neither of the original zones of West Somerset or West Gloucestershire are included – yet. For now, all the information supplied by the Government can be found here:
Summary of badger control monitoring during 2017
High level summary of the badger cull in 2017
Annex A1 – updating of minimum and maximum numbers during the cull
Changing the numbers half way through so that targets can be met
Annex A2: Data from the cull areas in 2017
Specific information from each cull zone
Annex B – Natural England compliance monitoring summary of the 2017 badger control licences
Compliance with licence conditions
Although the killing of nearly 20,000 badgers is far too many for such an immoral and unethical attack on a protected species, we know that the number would be far higher without so many passionate people going out into the fields day and night to protect badgers far and wide. Not only that but the cull companies and contractors know that they’re being monitored and are deterred from committing wildlife crimes. And finally, our presence consistently reminds the Government that their badger cull policy is unpopular and unwanted by the majority of the British public in the most visible way possible. So thank you to everyone who stands up for badgers – they have no voice but we can speak (or shout) on their behalf. Meantime, let’s hope 2018 sees some sanity prevail and Michael Gove suspend badger culling to undertake a thorough scientific investigation into the issues.
How long does the Government think it can ignore its electorate? BAN has received so many emails in response to press images of badgers shot dead and piled up in a Wiltshire cull zone that we wanted to share some snippets more widely. The public has always been against the badger cull and our inbox shows they are becoming increasingly angry – and rightly so.
“This government is totally bloodthirsty and only interested in killing… not how they are killed.” TOM
“Why is the badger cull continuing with no evidence of any benefit? Why is the cull being carried out in such an inhumane way?” LISA
“This can’t go on any more. How can this be about TB? If they were that worried, why weren’t the badgers’ bodies disposed of correctly? It’s only about money and people who enjoy killing our beautiful badgers just for the pleasure of it.” KAREN
“Could you tell me why badgers are being killed when TB has not fallen at all in the cull zones and why the badgers that are shot are not tested for TB so we know if any have the disease?” ANDREW
“Why is all the scientific evidence rejected?” KEITH
“How absolutely heart-wrenching (that) in this country our wonderful animals are treated so. The government should be ashamed, encouraging lack of empathy and letting people think that they can kill badgers willy nilly. What country has this become? What message is this all sending? Well! Here’s your answer. And don’t say we need badger culling because we damn well know we don’t.” DONNA
If you’re feeling angry or upset about the badger cull, please contact us now to see what you can do to help save the badgers.
Licences for badger culling in 11 new zones during 2017 have been issued for the following counties: Dorset, Devon, Cheshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. There will also be further culling in Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire as well as the two original zones in West Somerset and Gloucestershire.
All the letters of authorisation can be found here, each of which set out the minimum and maximum targets.
The total maximum and minimum targets for new, existing and supplementary licences is:
Maximum: 33841 badgers
Minimum: 21981 badgers
Additional detail of figures and methodology can be found here.
This is an unprecedented attack on a native species that will do nothing to remove the threat of bovine TB. Now is most definitely the time to get involved, so please contact Badger Action Network to find out how you can help and where your local active group is based.
In 2014, John Lowe fatally shot his partner and daughter in Surrey. In April 2016, the Independent Police Crime Commission ruled that Surrey Police had failed to consider and properly assess information relating to Lowe before returning his firearms.
Bearing in mind that the badger cull will be extended to new areas this year, it is worrying that the police watchdog also found the force’s firearms licensing team lacked training and was staffed by people failing to do their duties properly.
This is not an isolated incident. Those monitoring the cull have reported breaches of the Firearms Act to the Police on numerous occasions and it’s worth continuing to pursue this option. It is a serious breach of the Firearms Act to use guns and live ammunition to intimidate and threaten innocent parties in any way. Live firing on or across footpaths and public highways is also a breach. During transport, guns must be concealed in the vehicle and not on view.
In any incident involving a gun, notify the police by dialing 999 and immediately inform the operator that a firearm is compromising your personal safety.
Since the Badger Action Network launched last year, we have answered well over 300 emails from both individuals and grass roots organisations who are keen to find out how best they can help.
We found it interesting how many local landowners have contacted us to ask how they could stop unwanted cull operatives trespassing on their land. Our advice is to liaise closely with the police since armed trespass is a criminal offence. Another deterrent is to install hidden cameras.
With this year’s predicted rollout of the cull to new counties and the possibility of supplementary culling in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire, we’d urge any concerned landowner to contact us and we will be happy to help them further.
Right now, groups are getting out to check on setts and badger activity in previously culled zones as well the potential new zones. The good news is that even in the heart of cull zones, there are still signs of badger activity.
If you would like to join the effort to save our badgers, please find your local group here.
During the last three years, cull operatives have started killing badgers in the cull zones towards the end of August so we assume this will be the start date for 2016’s cull. To keep up to date, join your local group.
It’s unlikely that there will be any formal advance notice since the Government and cull companies want to keep the culls as secret as possible. This, despite the recent judgement that urged the Government to be more transparent. After all, it is OUR badgers who, unfortunately, live on other people’s land.
Unfortunately despite increasing condemnation from animal welfare groups, conservationists, leading scientists and many members of the public, the Government appears to be bowing to the pressure from the farming industry to roll the cull out into Cornwall, Devon, North Cotswolds and Herefordshire.
Since 2011, those protecting badgers from a ‘crazy’ Government policy of culling have done an amazing job in raising public awareness, keeping the issue alive in both the national and local media, and going out into the zones to monitor and bear witness to what Natural England calls an ‘unprecedented’ attack on native British wildlife in modern times.
It’s important to bear in mind that there is no badger culling allowed on RSPB, Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust or National Trust (or their tenants’) land, and there will be many non-participating landholdings within each cull zone.
So, if you find an armed person out and about trying to kill badgers either night or day, they may well be committing armed trespass and that’s a criminal offence. Our advice is to ring 999 to report them and to let your local badger group know what’s going on as soon as possible.
YOUR help is needed URGENTLY in the cull zones – the killing will start within the next few weeks. There are various practical ways in which you can give your support – out in the field, at camp, sending supplies etc.
Everyone can play their part, regardless of age or ability. Training is provided.
Please get in touch with any of these groups now for a warm welcome and to see how YOU can help SAVE THE LIVES OF BADGERS in the coming weeks:
DEVON & CORNWALL
Contact: Devon & Cornwall Against The Badger Cull
Contact: Dorset Against The Badger Cull
Contact: Somerset Against The Badger Cull
If you don’t use Facebook, please contact us here at the Badger Action Network for alternative contact details.
Recently news surfaced via Network for Animals that Defra might be TB testing badger carcasses during this year’s cull. As often the case with all things to do with the Government’s badger cull, this is more confusing than it might seem. More than that, it could be a bad thing for badgers living where culls have been carried out in Dorset, Somerset and Gloucestershire.
Data from the Randomised Badger Cull Trial (RBCT) shows that TB rates in badgers increased during and after culling. By the fourth cull, in fact, the scientists concluded that the ‘prevalence of infection was approximately double that recorded on the initial cull’. So if Defra tests badgers in the cull zones this year – and yes, it’s the fourth year of culling – it’s not rocket science to guess what the results might be. There is a caveat, though. The culls haven’t been carried out adhering to RBCT methodology so the results could be different. And with no TB testing of badgers in previous years, there will be nothing to compare it to.
Going back to hard-won scientific data from the days of the RBCT, it’s noticeable that as TB in cattle rises, infection rates in badgers rise too. The clue is in the name – bovine tuberculosis. Reduce the rates in cattle with more effective cattle testing and controls and the rates drop in cattle, followed by the reduction of TB in badgers.
So it doesn’t seem to be a good thing to test badgers for bovine TB right now. Added to that, there’s also the thorny problem of finding out whether a badger that tests positive for TB is infected or infectious. There’s a world of difference between the two and, again looking back at the RBCT data, very few of the badgers that tested positive for TB were infectious.
Added to this, who is going to check that the badgers tested by Defra are randomised samples and how thorough will the testing be? Who, indeed, will carry out the testing? And what if the badgers that test positive are actually carrying natural resistance to the disease?
So after the initial prevarication about testing badgers for TB at the start of all this, is Defra trying to reinvent the wheel or is there a hidden agenda? Seems that, once again, the Government isn’t as open and transparent on this issue as it could be.
So don’t forget our badgers need you more than ever before. Contact us to find out where your nearest local badger protection group is operating.