Badger slaughter 2017

It is a very sad end to the year to discover that almost 20,000 badgers have been culled nationally this autumn. Critics have called it ‘the largest destruction of a protected species in living memory’.

The total killed is almost twice as many animals as in 2016, partly explained by the addition of 11 new cull zones to parts of the West Country that were worst hit by bovine TB. Some of the badgers were trapped before being shot, but the majority were killed by free shooting.

The British Veterinary Association has consistently judged the practice of free shooting as inhumane.

Defra has said the cull was a success and would be expanded to take in more areas next year.

In an article on the Guardian website by Patrick Barkham, wildlife campaigners were quoted as saying the cull ‘failed to meet its original targets and Defra could only claim it was a success because after a month of culling they drastically reduced the target number of badgers to be slaughtered in 10 of the 11 new zones’.


The article goes on to quote Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust: “The badger cull is the worst example of incompetence, negligence and deceit at the heart of the government. To spend over £50m of public money killing tens of thousands of badgers without any reliable evidence this will lower TB rates in cattle is a national disgrace.

“If [environment secretary] Michael Gove truly wants to be remembered for putting animal welfare and wildlife protection at the top of the political agenda, he should announce an immediate halt to badger culling and a wide ranging review of this disastrous, cruel and costly policy”.

Anne Brummer, chief executive of Brian May’s Save Me Trust, is also quoted. She said she was “appalled” by the culling, and said her charity’s support for innovative new testing methods on one Devon farm showed that bovine TB could be removed from a chronically infected cattle herd without killing badgers.

You can read the full article here.