In 2019-2020, the badger cull took place over a total of 43 zones. A total of 35,034 badgers were killed with the largest percentage free-shot.
In 2019-2020, the badger cull took place over a total of 43 zones. A total of 35,034 badgers were killed with the largest percentage free-shot. The British Veterinary Association has condemned the method as inhumane. A comprehensive analysis of the data with links to the original Government documents can be found here.
Killing in supplementary cull zones is expected to start on 1st June 2020. On 15 May 2020, Natural England issued licences for the original supplementary cull zones of West Somerset, West Gloucestershire and Dorset plus, for the first time, an area within Herefordshire and new areas within Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Gloucestershire.
It is expected that licences for the 33 remaining areas plus new areas will be issued in mid-August, so DON’T DELAY!
As we wait for the numbers of badgers that were killed courtesy of the Government’s badger cull policy during 2019/20, the Government dropped a bombshell into the mix. A long awaited response to the Godfray report included an unexpected pledge that intensive badger culling would be ‘phased’ out in favour of large scale, industry-led badger vaccination. Mainstream media briefly abandoned the coronavirus stories to carry extensive stories on the Government’s new approach with some campaigners calling it a ‘U-turn’. What is certain is that the Government’s strategy is far more focused on cattle measures than before with much less mention of badgers.
For now, it looks as if supplementary culling will be replaced with badger vaccination whilst it may be possible that new areas will not be licenced this year. However a word of caution: activists should not relax though for will the Government actually follow through these words with action? So, as always, make this the year to join your local group, if you’ve not already done so. Details here.
On 19 January 2020, the Sunday Times reported that it’s expected that ministers will soon announce the number of badgers killed during 2019. The release of the figures is later than usual and information from the Times reports an estimate of 40,000 or so badgers will have been killed.
This means that an unbelievable total of over 108,000 badgers will have been been killed during seven years of culling and the increase in 2019/20 represents an approximate 20% from 2018/19. And it is set to rise since the figures are unlikely to include the badgers killed in the supplementary cull zones of West Somerset, West Gloucestershire plus an area of Dorset. Licences for free shooting badgers here now continue until 31 January 2020.
Whatever numbers the Government announces, it will be an under-estimate. All around the country, those working hard to protect badgers have found some badgers that have been shot and killed but not picked up by cull operatives. These are usually recorded as ‘shot and missed’. Not only that but there are well-grounded fears that many badgers are killed illegally under the guise of the official cull.
One other observation. If the number for 2019/20 is 40,000 or so, it will be a dramatic reduction from the total of the maximum number of badgers targeted for 2019/20, which was 64,400.
Finally, when the figures are released we will probably find out that most of the badgers will have been free-shot, a method condemned by the British Veterinary Association as inhumane but which is cheap and so is on the increase.
Somerset Against the Badger Cull created a short video dramatic reconstructing the shooting of one badger as documented by a monitor appointed by the Government. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGm7IcNgXyA
The Government bTB policy on badger culling is as follows:
Four years of a SIX WEEK badger cull with letters of authorisation issued every year. Area size is known and the minimum and maximum number of badgers that can be shot in that area. However the actual area and boundaries with details of non-participating and participating land within those areas is not known.
After four years of the six weeks cull, SUPPLEMENTARY CULLING is licenced that lasts for EIGHT MONTHS a year for free-shooting and SIX MONTHS a year for cage trapping. Essentially, a repeal of the Protection of Badgers Act without a vote in Parliament, this means that the target number of badgers can be killed either by free shooting by licensed cull operatives from 1 June 2018 to 31 January 2019 or by cage-trapping & shooting by licensed cull operatives between 1 June 2018 – 30 November 2018.
Only licenced cull operatives can legally kill badgers both during the six week badger cull and the supplementary culling. Anyone without such a licence and killing badgers is acting illegally. SETTS ARE STILL PROTECTED during any cull operations so ANY disturbance of a sett is illegal throughout the year.
Letters of authorisation for three areas are now under supplementary culling for 2019/20 were issued on 20 June 2019.
West Gloucestershire (Area 1) and West Somerset (Area 2) are in their third year whilst Dorset Area 3 is in its first year. Supplementary culling will last for FIVE YEARS minimum and is designed to keep badger populations at a very low level. It risks driving local populations to extinction.
After five years of supplementary culling, a decision will be made by the Government whether to continue culling or not
Badger protection groups in all zones monitor setts all year round and it’s never too late to join in. If you really care about badgers, get in touch with your local group and get started now.
On 11 September 2019, Defra published the Letters of Authorisation for 11 new areas and, at the same time, released the minimum and maximum target figures for zones already subject to culling.
There are now FORTY zones within England that can kill badgers under licence for six weeks.
In addition, on 20 June, letters of authorisation were issued for further supplementary culling in THREE areas in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset. More on what supplementary culling means can be found here.
There is NO evidence that this slaughter is helping to reduce bovine TB incidents within cattle herds. In fact, Government figures show that in West Gloucestershire after SIX years of culling badgers, the rate of incidents of bovine TB has increased by 130%. See article here.
Remember that 67,259 badgers have been killed in the Government’s badger cull policy since 2013. It is, without doubt, a massacre of a much-loved native species for no good reason at all. So please get in touch with your local group here to find out how you can help.
On 18 December, the Government announced the results of 2018’s badger cull. Sadly, the 2018 total is 32,601 and set to rise with supplementary culling by free-shooting still ongoing in the two original zones of West Somerset and Gloucestershire (see more on supplementary culling here).
At this point, the total number of badgers killed since this badger cull policy was implemented in 2013 is a shocking 66,985.
The Government published more documents to try and justify their badger cull policy.
Meanwhile, the press summarised the results and highlighted the defects in the Government position:
In October, a group of experts undermined Government claims that the badger cull has been effective in reducing incidents of bovine TB in cull zones:
This was particularly important as these claims are used by Government and the farming industry to underpin the expansion of the badger cull.
In November, the Godfray report commissioned by the Government was highly critical of both the farming industry and Government ministers. It revealed that simple measures such as secure fencing to prevent TB transmission aren’t implemented and that this, together with 2 million movements of cattle every year and an ineffective cattle testing regime, is “severely hampering disease control measures“.
With the farming industry still blaming badgers rather than putting their own house in order, badgers all over the country need your help.
Make 2019 the year that you stand up for your local badgers!
On Friday 26 October, police operations for the 2018 badger cull finally ceased in all zones, although a few had finished earlier. We now wait for the official numbers of badgers killed in 2018 to be released by the Government. In previous years, Defra and Natural England publish the figures just as MPs go on their Christmas break which, this year, will be 20 December.
Meantime, it’s important to stress that supplementary culling carries on for the second year in the original West Gloucestershire (Area 1) and West Somerset (Area 2) zones. Essentially, a repeal of the Protection of Badgers Act without a vote in Parliament, this means that the target number of badgers can be killed either by free shooting by licensed cull operatives from 1 June 2018 to 31 January 2019. Or by cage-trapping & shooting by licensed cull operatives between 1 June 2018 – 30 November 2018.
In 2017-18, Defra refused to publish the number of badgers killed in these zones, despite Freedom of Information requests, until July 2018 when Defra announced that 172 badgers had been killed in Gloucestershire and 91 badgers in Somerset. Compliance monitoring of these supplementary culls is very limited so it’s vital that more local people get to know and look after setts in their neighbourhood.
Badger protection groups in all zones are already out re-checking setts and starting new surveys of setts in anticipation of further expansion of the badger cull zones in 2019.
If you really care about badgers, get in touch with your local group and get started now.
On Thursday 13 September, the Government released the numbers of badgers that cull operatives will kill in England during 2018, together with the Licences and Letters of Authorisation.
The total number of badgers targeted in this year’s cull is over 42,000. This represents the largest attack on a native species in living memory – anywhere in the world. In the years to come, almost nowhere will be safe for badgers since the Government includes an annex B that lists the Sites of Special Scientific Interest for each county that may be culled either now or in the future. It starts with Avon and works through to Worcestershire.
So turn your anger into action and get in touch with your local group operating on the ground to protect badgers.
It is expected that the Government, or the NFU, will announce the licensing of the badger culls very soon. We expect that there will be 31 zones this year, including ten new ones. The minimum and maximum targets for the numbers of badgers to be killed will be published too. All of us will be shocked to see the figures, which will add up to the unnecessary slaughter of tens of thousands of badgers.
Local groups have been working in many of the new zones throughout the year and all of them would like your support. Use our network links page to find details of local grass-roots organisations working to protect badgers all year round, or contact us for more information. Everyone can do something.
In addition, cull companies are recruiting more farms to extend into yet more areas during 2019 and the map on the Innocent Badger website may give you an idea of which areas could be included.
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.