Badgers will still die despite Defra announcement
Many people could be forgiven for thinking that badger culling will be banned in 2022, based on recent media reports. The horrifying truth is that the cull is set to continue for now, with an eventual end to their persecution far from certain.
Over 140,000 badgers have been slaughtered so far in this senseless cull and the toll will continue to grow. While there is some light at the end of the tunnel with the Government’s latest announcement,
Be under no illusion - badger culling will continue beyond 2022.
So what’s going on?
On the 27th January Environment Secretary George Eustice made a statement to the House of Commons that no new intensive culling licences will be issued after 2022. This is good news but it does not mean that culling will end.
This year and in 2022 we could see the implementation of many new badger culling areas. Possibly up to 20 new zones if the badgers are extremely unlucky. These new areas could still see culling for four years unless the Chief Veterinary Officer cuts them short if she considers this is acceptable.
After four years of intensive culling, areas then move onto supplementary culling which usually lasts for a further four years.
George Eustice stated that post 2022 supplementary cull zones could possibly be cut to two years.
On the day that the government put out this news that they were intending to phase out badger culling over the next few years they released the badger cull figures for 2020. You would think they were trying to hide this awful news under a barrage of more positive media claiming the culls were ending.
38,642 badgers were killed in last year’s badger cull. An absolute tragedy. That number does not even yet include badgers killed in the supplementary zones which finish on January 31st 2021.
This means over 140,000 badgers have been killed in the badger culls since 2013. A heart-breaking number which leaves a big hole in our countryside.
Campaigners have been calling for an end to the badger cull for years, including many of our supporters and groups who have been working hard to end the cull with tireless lobbying and campaigning.
The Government does seem to be moving away from culling to a strategy that is more focused on cattle and badger vaccination which is welcome news although I would prefer to see this happen this year of course. We may see less badgers being killed over the next few years, but we will have to wait and see.
A consultation on the proposed measures can be found here.
There are many badger groups around the country already vaccinating badgers for free and I hope to see more support from the government for these programmes.
At the League we vaccinate the badgers on our reserves and will continue to do so with the help of the wonderful Somerset Badger Group. Protecting our environment and what lives within it is more important than ever in this current climate.
With cattle vaccination on the horizon let’s hope we do see the end of badger culling and the end of the demonisation of one of our oldest species. Badgers are supposed to be a protected species after all.
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