Badger Trust today expressed horror and outrage as a further 38,642 badger deaths were recorded by the Government as part of its ongoing badger cull campaign. This brings the total to over 140,000 since 2013, with a further 60,000 plus expected in the next two years.
Dawn Varley, Acting CEO at Badger Trust, commented:
‘The reality of the badger cull is in that stark number – 38,642 badgers killed – an increase of over 10% on 2019’s figures, and 140,991 deaths overall since this policy was adopted in 2013. And the total will continue to rise, likely going beyond 200,000 by the end of 2022, with a further two years already locked into current expansion plans and four-year licences still to run. The culling policy is inhumane and unnecessary at best, and at worst it’s a smokescreen and ineffective strategy to appease farmers’.
Badger Trust has consistently questioned the basis of the cull. The continued approach assigns badgers a major role in the transmission of bTB to cattle, when core issues of cattle movements and related farm biosecurity are routinely ignored.
She continued: ‘We fundamentally challenge the need to kill badgers, when the science consistently fails to pinpoint them as the major cause of transmission of this terrible disease in cattle. Instead of the new consultation, the Government would do well to put time and effort into bringing a cattle vaccine to market, hopefully once and for all dealing with this terrible problem for animals and farmers alike.’
The announcement of the 2020 figures came shortly after the widely publicised announcement of a new consultation into the Government’s policy to eradicate bovine TB (bTB), the reason for the badger cull. This was picked up as a ‘good news’ story and reported as a possible ‘end in sight’ message to the cull. The kill figures were then released to little fanfare.
As stated in Badger Trust’s initial response to the consultation announcement, a further statement will be made once a full review of the Government’s announcement and consultation details has been completed.