Government bTB policy on badger culling

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.

A shocking 64,400 badgers could be killed this year

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.

Government kills 66,985 badgers in disastrous culls

66985 badgers killed

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:

Record 32,000 badgers shot in annual cull | Environment | The Guardian

More than 30,000 badgers killed over autumn in largest cull ever, figures show | The Independent

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:

Minister’s claim that badger cull cuts cattle TB is attacked by experts | Environment | The Guardian

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!

Find your local group

Contact us

Police operations for 2018 badger cull now ceased in all zones

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.

Badger cull is largest attack on a native species in living memory

42,100 badgers to die

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.

Check out our network of groups or contact us for more information.

Badger cull announcement due: 31 killing zones expected

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.

URGENT! Two new consultations – please respond by 15th April 2018

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*.

Consultation response (bTB) example

Consultation response (LRAs) example

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.


bTB Risk Map

Draft Revised Guidance on badger culling in Low Risk Areas (Defra)

Consultation on increasing number of Licenced Areas beyond 10 (Defra)

Consultation on extending culling into Low Risk Areas (Defra)


Risk map

URGENT! Please respond to public consultation on more cull zones


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:

Responding to the consultation – March 2018

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.

Badger cull figures for 2017

19274 badgers killed

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.

Public anger soars as shameful badger cull exposed


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.

1 2 3