Saturday, 29 September 2012



Well its been a week or so since my last post and a lot has happened in that time.

The petition to the government for people who are opposed to the cull has reached the 100,000 signature milestone meaning it will be discussed in parliament. In fact the petition is now on 136,247 so great going but we still need more signatures to stop this barbaric act going ahead. 

Please take a few minutes to sign, it could mean everything for the Badgers survival.

The Forest of Dean district council has also banned culling on its own land. A vote was taken at a full council meeting on Thursday 27/09/12. They voted unanimously, 30-1 to prevent the cull taking place on council land. 
A statement from the Council reads.

“That this Council recognises that TB in cattle is a terrible disease which needs eradicating. It believes that the government should work in a sustainable way to this end. The Council does not, however, believe that a badger cull will support this objective and will therefore, not allow badgers to be culled on land which the Forest of Dean District Council owns, manages or controls.
The Forest of Dean District Council must make public safety and the care of our wildlife a priority and to this end this council must endeavour to make contact with all other land owners within its boundary to request that they refuse any culling of badgers on their land”

This is fantastic news and a great coup for the cause.

Furthermore it has come to light that the cull will take place when sows are pregnant. This means that they are likely to be shot and left to crawl away into their setts to die a slow painful death. The closed season for free shooting of badgers is to be from the 1st February - 31st May. This means that some sows may already have dependant litters. If they are shot their cubs will also die from starvation. 

Please continue to write to your local MP, discussing your concerns for the cull.

Wild Boar

Another cull which is due to take place is the cull of Wild Boar in the Forest of Dean.

Between September 2012 and January 2013 the Forestry Commission plan to cull 100 boar. According to their estimates there are between 600-650 present in the forest, however friends of the boar believe the number to be closer to 200. Obviously a cull based on such inaccurate figures is a bad idea. For all the FC know they could be halving the population.

The FC have based their population estimates on 4 peoples observations over the summer, 3 rangers and 1 independent. The FoTB, on the other hand have used over 100 local enthusiasts, including wildlife photographers and naturalists. Now, I'm not saying one is right over the other because of course two groups with opposing views are more than likely to put numbers in favour of their own cause. However, it is my opinion that the Forestry Commission cannot perform an effective cull without knowing true figures. More time needs to be spent on censusing this species in the Forest of Dean. 

Friends of the Boar have created a petition of their own and whilst they don't expect it to reach the numbers of the badger petition, we ask you to sign it. 


Culling is an essential part of wildlife management. Deer have been culled in the countryside for years. It is important for not only the health of the countryside but also for the deer. When too many deer are present pressures are put onto the land with damage to grasslands, trees and crops. They also pose a potential threat to motorists as people are more likely to come into contact with them. 
The land only has so much carrying capacity and since we humans have wiped out most of the deer's natural predators we must interfere and take over their roll in the chain.

Whilst I understand that culling is an essential part of countryside management I do not believe that badgers fall into this category. Scientific evidence has shown that culling works to manage a species so that it doesn't exceed the carrying capacity of the land, this isn't the issue in this case. Scientific evidence has shown that this cull to be ineffective in halting the spread of bTB, with the suggestion of better bio-security and vaccination the way forwards.

Similarly with the boar, the FC plan to carry out a cull of a species it has no idea of the true population figures. This cannot be allowed to go ahead and whilst I agree culling of some boar is necessary, we must first perform a proper census. It is no good culling based on inaccurate figures. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Badger Cull

The Badger Trust have failed in their appeal to overturn the proposed cull on badger.

Well it seems the government have failed to see sense and have decided to go ahead with the cull of Badgers to help control the spread of TB. Despite the protestations of many, petitions and famous names (Brian May) weighing in on the debate the government are ignoring scientific evidence. 

First badger cull licence issued! 

The link above shows the first licence for culling has been issued and it is for Gloucestershire where TB cases are high. 

The map below shows the cull zone for Gloucestershire in yellow with potential cull zones highlighted in red.

Fig 1: 

Another licence is being considered for Somerset.

On Friday the 14th September 2012, a public meeting was held at the Bells hotel Coleford, to discuss the cull. Brian May (of Queen fame) was scheduled to appear and talk on behalf of his organisation Save Me. However, due to a family tragedy he was unable to attend. 

Other guest speakers in attendance were Mark Jones, Executive Director of Humane Society International, Joe Duckworth, Chief Execu
tive of the League Against Cruel Sports, Steve Jones - a herdsman from the Forest of Dean who has looked after dairy cows all his life (including running one of the largest dairy herds in the World) Jeanne Berry from Stroud 100 who spoke on behalf of GABS, Anne Brummer, Chief Executive of Save Me who spoke on behalf of Brian May and Gavin Grant, Chief Executive of the RSPCA.

Many people attended ( I'm afraid I had to work) and showed their support for the cause.


  • As many as 100,000 badgers are expected to be culled in England of an entire population estimated to be at 300,000.
  • The government intend to allow upto 70% of badgers to be culled in an area. This has been shown to only stop the spread of bTB only slightly. Anything below 70% may infact INCREASE cases.
  • It is expected to reduce cases by as little as 16% over a 9 year period.
  • Lord Krebs one of the governments most respected scientists has said that this route is ludicrous and he would go down the route of vaccination and biosecurity. 
  • A decade long trial proved that culling was ineffective!
  • Culling has been shown to lead to a phenomenon known as the perturbation effect. Badgers live in social groups of 4-7 in a territory. Culling disrupts the organisation of these groups meaning badgers range further, thus spreading the disease further.
Fig 2: Perturbation effect diagram. (Taken from the Wildlife Trusts website.

The Cull will see trained marksmen shooting free roaming badgers in a proposed area, which if this seems highly dangerous to you it is. What's to stop a bullet meant for a badger missing and hitting a late night rambler? 

The alternative to a cull is vaccination of both cattle and badgers, which the government have already spent large sums of money developing. So why are they not following this route? Your guess is as good as mine but we must do what we can to stop the culling of this wonderful species. If you want to help please sign Brian May's petition.

I had the luck to visit a badger sett when I was in primary school with the Forest of Dean Badger Patrol and I can say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It would be a shame for future generations to miss out on this.

information taken from: