Badger Trust remains unconvinced that bTB policy consultation gives any reprieve to badgers

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Review of Government statement and consultation approach fails to indicate any significant change to the expected further slaughter of over 100,000 badgers in coming years.

Further to an initial holding reaction to the Government’s announcement of a consultation into their ‘bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) eradication policy’ – the driver for the culling of badgers in England since 2013 – Badger Trust has further reviewed the details provided. This release gives a deeper dive into the matters at hand, and the reasons for our position of remaining unconvinced that there is any reprieve for badgers in sight. The top portion of this release provides the headline overview, and the following section gives the more comprehensive review.

Headline overview:

Whilst Badger Trust would welcome any sign that the badger cull is coming to an end it remains unconvinced that the Government’s recent statement, or the details held in the new consultation, indicate anything other than its continued commitment to the mass killing of badgers.

Despite the Government saying that no new licences will be issued after 2022, this does not mean that badger culling stops at that point. Badgers will continue to be killed for a significant number of years after that date. Whilst it's not possible to know what licences will or won't be issued in 2021 and 2022, or how these – and the licences already in progress – will be extended by supplementary licences, we can take an educated guess based on what has happened to date.

Dawn Varley, Acting CEO, said:

‘The Government has claimed ‘not to want to continue killing badgers indefinitely’ since the culls started in 2013, whilst year-on-year increasing the number of badgers killed and expanding the areas where culling takes place.’

She continued:

‘Badger Trust cannot see in this latest set of proposals that there is any meaningful intention for a reduction in the number of badgers killed over the next four years, with a distinct possibility of 20 new intensive cull licences being issued over the next two years, and the further possibility of 11 new supplementary licences this year. There are already expressions of interest for thirteen new cull zones in 2021 alone.’

Badger Trust believes that culling is likely to continue until 2027, but it could continue to 2030 if the currently permitted