News & Research Blog We need to keep protesting against the badger cull If nothing else works, you can always protest. Last week, during an extremely cold day, many “badger protectors” participated in an event in London to protest about the 10,886 badgers killed last year during the fourth year of the misguided unscientific Government’s cull. It involved a march from Leicester Square to Parliament, and then a vigil at DEFRA. The League was also present and I was lucky enough to be given the chance to give a small talk. In my speech I explained why the League Against Cruel Sports participates in this sort of event, considering that the badger cull is not a cruel sport. This is because badgers have been, and still are, the victims of the cruel sport of badger baiting, which, despite being made illegal many years ago, has never disappeared completely. And it is precisely because it never disappeared that badgers were finally made a protected species with the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, which prohibits activities associated with badger baiting, including interfering with a badger sett. The main offences under the 1992 Act carry heavy penalties, including an unlimited fine and/or up to six months’ imprisonment. The League thought that such protection would relegate badger persecution to a minimum…but then the badger cull came. Although the Government has always justified the badger cull by blaming badgers for the spreading of bTB in cattle, most scientists do not agree with it.Even if the link was proven, research has already proved that culling badgers does not help significantly to solve the problem. There must be something else behind this insistence on killing badgers despite overwhelming opposition. It seems to me that this cull, which effectively temporarily eliminates the protection of badgers in some areas by allowing them to be killed by people licensed to do so, is just part of a Government sanctioned badger persecution aimed at eliminating the protection that badgers got in 1992. And why do I think that? Because the cull is being extended every year to more areas and there are plans to extend it further. There are now signs the Government is thinking of changing the licensing system from individual licences to general licences (where many people will be allowed to kill badgers without even registering their name), and because all the initial rules that prevented too many badgers being culled are being gradually eliminated. In other words, the UK Government have joined badger baiters, land developers, and “mega-dairies” framers in persecuting badgers and trying to eliminate their legal protraction. This is why the League has always been involved in the campaign against the cull. Because the League is all about helping animal victims of sport by developing effective legislation to protect them. Badgers are one of these victims whose legal protection is under now under threat, and this is why we are protesting. You don’t need to join a march under the cold of winter or, in autumn, join a Wounded Badger Patrol in the cull areas to help individual badgers that may be shot. You can do a couple of things from your own home as well. One thing that everyone can do from home is to sign the Government’s e-petition titled “End the badger cull instead of expanding to new areas”. If we reach 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament, so it is important we get as many people to sign it as possible, to keep the pressure up. The deadline is 27th February 2017. The other thing people with knowledge of this issue can do is to respond to the Government consultation titled “Guidance to Natural England on licensed badger control to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis” on extending the badger cull, by telling them you don’t agree. The deadline for this one is the 10th February 2017. Let’s keep protesting until not a single badger is persecuted anymore.