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.