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Badger cull delayed

In December 2011 plans to cull badgers were announced by the Government initially in pilot areas to curb the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, which are then slaughtered at great financial cost to the taxpayer.

However, legal proceedings against Defra’s decision to sanction the cull by the Badger Trust have led to a judicial review.  Marksmen will not now be granted licences to kill until a judge considers the challenge and gives his ruling.

The Trust states that the methods of ‘free shooting’, where licensed contractors are permitted to shoot badgers as they roam, will have the adverse effect of disrupting the badgers and allow them to roam further, carrying the TB to more farms.  It also challenges the policy on the grounds of cost, stating that if free shooting is ruled out, farmers will have to revert to the more expensive cage trapping.

More recently, the government has come under pressure from the Bow Group to reconsider pilot culls.  In their report theyidentify vaccination as a viable alternative to culling and reaffirm the notion that culling may actually increase the risk of TB.