Change Alley

information, opinion, conversation

Stop The Badger Cull

with 13 comments

Thousands of badgers will be gassed or snared if the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) gets its way. Until the 1980’s, gassing of badger setts was routinely employed as a means of controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB). British farmers and successive UK governments have long believed that TB was spread by badgers and infecting the national dairy herd. Badgers are protected in the UK by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. They may not be killed, nor their setts interfered with, except on license from the government, the only exception being for TB control.

On June 18th, the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) published its Final Report, Bovine TB: The Scientific Evidence, after nearly ten years work. In a press release, the ISG stated:

“… no practicable method of badger culling can reduce the incidence of cattle TB to any meaningful extent, and several culling approaches may make matters worse. The ISG also conclude that rigidly applied control measures targeted at cattle can reverse the rising incidence of disease, and halt its geographical spread”.

Despite compelling scientific evidence that badger culling is useless and in some scenarios worse than useless, and we’d be better off controlling TB through the cattle herds, the farming community is still calling for the elimination of badger populations. Although the work of gassing, snaring or shooting would have to be done under licences issued by the government, wildlife groups fear that this will be unpoliceable and result in widespread cruelty and suffering. Gassing is an indiscriminate killing method that affects many other wildlife species.

The Black and White Campaign website has more details on the issues. Please sign their online petition.


13 Responses

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  1. Done.

    P.S. That looks like a stuffed badger in your photo!


    July 11, 2007 at 11:12 am

  2. He will be once the cull starts

    Pete Smith

    July 11, 2007 at 11:26 am

  3. Or be part of a ‘badger soap’ in some hyper cool restaurant in SW1.


    July 11, 2007 at 1:12 pm

  4. Hi again,

    See, that’s why I like your blog. I didn’t even know y’all had badgers over there, let alone that they carried TB. Good work.

    the Grit

    the Grit

    July 11, 2007 at 7:40 pm

  5. Hi Grit,

    The Eurasian badger is a different species, although it looks similar. I think yours is having a bad time right now. The fuss about culling our badgers isn’t so much because they’re endangered (some estimates make them as common as foxes), but because they’re cute in a bumbling kind of a way. Not really true of course, they’re robust carnivores that can kill a dog and take a man’s hand off if cornered.

    But I still think they shouldn’t be killed without good reason.


    Pete Smith

    July 11, 2007 at 7:49 pm

  6. You’ll be telling me that those country people are holding their women folk under water to check whether they are witches; if they’re not they drown, and if so they’re killed anyway – seems perfectly logical to me, a win-win strategy. Now where’s another hedgerow to pull up, there’s gotta be something in there that can be another scapegoat for poor husbandry practices:)


    July 12, 2007 at 8:32 am

  7. In rural west Wales I’ve actually met families that very rarely leave their valley. The consequences of inter-breeding over generations has produced some interesting results. It is these people I happened to meet after visiting a local hole-in-the-wall pub. No doubt superstition runs high, on all levels. Government reports are certainly not to be trusted. If they’re managing parts of our countryside as well, badgers don’t have a chance in hell. 🙂


    July 12, 2007 at 9:23 am

  8. Rural west Wales? That’s an interesting link. A Hindu community in Llanpumsaint, near Carmarthen, go to court this very day to prevent the slaughter of their sacred bull Shambo, after he tested positive for bovine TB.

    No badgers were involved.

    Pete Smith

    July 12, 2007 at 12:41 pm

  9. Signed.

    It seems perfectly logical to the dimmest of persons that if thousands and thousands of badgers have been killed over thirty or so years and there has been no reduction in cases of TB then culling is ineffective.

    So what other reason would there be for the NFU to press on for a cull. Are badgers considered a farmers pest?

    Farmers should stop thinking they’re victimised gods and should be made to switch to organic farming.


    July 12, 2007 at 12:45 pm

  10. > No badgers were involved.

    Maybe those farmers like their magic mushrooms for breakfast too much;



    July 12, 2007 at 2:47 pm

  11. Hi Pete,

    Ah, foxes. Those are rapidly disappearing in this area. We still have a couple on the farm, but the coyotes will take them out before long. It’s a shame really. The foxes are kind of cute, and do their part to keep the rodent population under control, while not bothering us at all. The coyotes, on the other hand, are getting to the point where they are a danger, not only to the deer, but to small children and the neighborhood dogs. This means that, before long, I will be forced to go out in the dark, with a night vision scope, and shoot some. As I’m not really much of a night person, this is a pain.

    the Grit

    the Grit

    July 12, 2007 at 11:34 pm

  12. Is there a coyote out there called Bush that roams the night? You pop that one and believe me we’ll parade you through the streets of London, no expense spared. 🙂


    July 13, 2007 at 7:08 am

  13. I personally believe that incitement to kill people because they have different views to myself is wrong unless there is very good cause, and I am hard-pushed to see what that could be, especially if all parties involved abide by the principles of democracy and freedom of speech. So, that’s one parade I won’t be attending.


    July 13, 2007 at 11:59 am

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