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:

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