Regarding the recent news coverage that the current round of badger culls is leaving badgers to suffer in the summer heat, the League Against Cruel Sports has raised concerns.

“The badger cull is unscientific and unjustified at the best of times, but this just beggar’s belief”, said League Against Cruel Sports Head of Campaigns, Nick Weston.

The controversial badger cull has yet again been expanded in 2018, which combined with the summer heatwave has raised whole new animal welfare issues. Prior to being shot, badgers are being lured into cages and left for up to twelve hours with no food, water or shade.

“It’s hard to imagine a crueller thing to do to someone in this heat. Weather forecasters have been warning us to stay out of the sun for the sake of our health, and yet badgers have been left out to dry. The government claims that the cull is ‘humane’, but what is humane about being forced to dehydrate in the insufferable heat? If this is what licences are paying for, then they need to be revoked now.”

Andrew Wood, Chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports and former Executive Director of Science & Evidence with Natural England, said:

“The Government issues advice warning against leaving a dog in a hot car but seemingly doesn't care about badgers being left exposed in extreme heat for hour upon hour. This is beyond disgraceful. It is inhumane.

“The extension of the cull to yet more areas of the country and especially to the so-called ‘low risk areas’ - where by any definition culling is unnecessary - is a disgrace. Pursuing ‘maintenance’ culling in areas where badger populations have already been reduced to the margins of viability is a further disgrace. Now the Government is piling insult upon injury by allowing this maintenance cull to continue in a hot, dry period, which means that badgers, trapped in cages, may be left for many hours without water before they are shot. If Natural England has any residual care for our wildlife, it should suspend the licences now.”

The Government believes that culling badgers will help reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle, also sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘badger TB’ - an infectious disease that results in the slaughter of tens of thousands of cattle each year.

Badgers have been found to be infected with bTB and some farmers fear that infected badgers are transmitting the disease to their cattle, despite the fact that there is no conclusive evidence that this happens often enough to be significant.

Figures showed that in 2017 19,274 badgers were “removed” either by controlled shooting or cage trapping across 21 target areas in Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Cheshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.