The Badger Trust is supporting a Parliament Petition set up by Wild Justice calling for an end to the licensing of the controlled shooting of badgers by Natural England, as part of the Government's badger cull policy.
After the first year of the cull policy in 2014, the Government received a report from an Independent Expert Panel chaired by Sir Ranald Munro. This report found that between 7.4% to 22.8% of badgers killed by the controlled shooting method took over five minutes to die of bullet wounds, blood loss and organ failure.
Despite calls for the Independent Expert Panel to continue its work, it was disbanded in the second year of the cull policy by the Defra Secretary of State, Owen Patterson.
Since 2013, the numbers of badgers killed by the controlled shooting method has continued to rise rapidly, whilst the level of independent monitoring of cull contractors by Natural England field operatives has declined.
In 2015, the British Veterinary Association withdrew its support of controlled shooting as a culling method stating that "we can no longer support the use of controlled shooting as the pilot culls have failed to demonstrate that this method can be used effectively and humanely".
Responding to the launch of the Parliament Petition, Dominic Dyer, CEO Badger Trust said:
"35,034 badgers were killed under cull licences in 2019. Over 70% were killed by a cruel and ineffective controlled shooting method that can result in badgers taking over five minutes to die. The level of independent monitoring of cull contractors is completely inadequate. We are increasingly concerned that shot badgers could be dying underground or in remote locations and not being collected and recorded in the annual kill figures.
We call on our supporters and the wider public to sign this petition in order for this issue to be debated in Parliament. The Badger Trust also supports Wild Justice in its efforts to bring a Judicial Review challenge against the Government on the lack of adequate humaneness monitoring of the badger cull."
Follow this link for the Wild Justice Parliament Petition