Bern Convention puts complaint on ‘stand by’ to monitor developments on the badger cull policy

England is home to over 25% of the Eurasian badger population, and the Badger Trust believes the large scale culling of badgers is threatening the species with population collapse in many areas, which is an infringement of the Bern Convention Treaty.

The Badger Trust (with the support of Born Free and Eurogroup for Animals) lodged a complaint against the British government under the terms of the Bern Convention, in December 2019, which protects wildlife and their habitats in Europe.

The Bern Convention complaint was considered by the Standing Committee on 15-16 September and an update was issued to us.

Although the Bern Convention accepted the government’s response that the badger cull policy had been developed by experts and there is no current cost-effective alternative, Member States to the Convention remain concerned by the issues we have raised on culling methods, cull licence criteria and the impact of the increasing scale of badger shooting on the overall badger population in England.

Taking this into account, the Bern Convention decided to put the complaint on ‘stand by’ in order to monitor developments on the badger cull policy going forward.

Both parties (British Government and complainant) are requested to report back to the Bern Convention by 31 July 2021, to provide further information and views on the number of badgers killed, areas of England under culling licences and monitoring measures in place on the results of the policy.

Responding to the Bern Convention decision Dominic Dyer, CEO of the Badger Trust said:

“The Badger Trust welcomes the decision by the Bern Convention to closely monitor key developments on the badger cull policy over the next 10 months, this is the first time a complaint made against the British government on this policy has not been dismissed at the initial consideration stage.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that a number of Bern Member States share our concerns on the impact of the badger cull policy and that the British government is failing in its obligations to protect this species.

A number of Environment Ministers from Bern Member States have already indicated that they will sign a letter to the Bern Convention, supporting our concerns on the impact of badger culling on the population level of the species in England, and we intend to build this supporting coalition further in the months ahead. The Labour Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard MP has also confirmed he will support this process.

The window we now have for further consideration of the Bern Convention complaint, and the overall direction of the badger cull policy, will also allow for Tom Langton and Wild Justice to pursue separate legal challenges against the cull policy under the British Judicial Review system, which will further increase the pressure on the government”.


The Badger Trust relies on your support to continue our work to enhance the welfare, conservation and protection of badgers, their setts and their habitats. We are stronger together – join the Badger Trust to help us carry on our vital campaign work, support our local Badger Groups and keep our badger crime reporting centre open.