The irrational badger cull of 2015, which flew in the face of scientific evidence, has now ended. If maximum government targets have been met, then 2038 badgers will now be dead.
Despite that fact that the UK’s leading scientists have spoken out against the effectiveness of badger culling for years, and despite the fact it has cost the public millions of pounds, the government is still hell bent on their failing mission.
It is for this reason that we fully expect the government to declare this cull a success, regardless of the facts.
Whilst even one shot badger is one too many, it is important to note that the maximum targets for badgers culled this year were significantly smaller than last year, which makes it easier for the government to hail the project a success. It is however, entirely possible that maximum targets have been met through nefarious means, given that no post-mortems are done on badgers presented to the government, and no checks made to ensure that badgers being counted in the cull have actually come from the culling area.
During NFA’s time in the cull zones, we found a badger by the roadside who had suffered and died as a result of being hit by a car. We helped move the body into the undergrowth, as it was explained to us that if found by one of the government’s paid marksmen, it could be shot and presented as a culled badger.
It should be incredulous that such underhand tactics would be possible under a government project, but when we consider further failings which have occurred in the Badger Cull, our expectations are null. Given that eminent scientist, Lord Krebs, has already spoken out against the culls, and indeed stated that bTB got worse, not better after the culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire, we are seeing a picture of a government determined to cull badgers, whatever the cost.
This blind determination to achieve culling goals was no more evident than it was in the government’s inability to be transparent with the public in announcing exactly when the culls would begin and end. We were told culling was “under way” on 3rd September, however those patrolling the cull zones are certain that trap deployment, baiting, and even shooting, started before that date. The same uncertainty surrounded the cull end date, with shooting continuing in Gloucestershire after it appeared to have finished in Dorset and Somerset. Not only does this highlight the deceptive nature of the cull, it also demonstrates further evidence of a lack of regard for the findings of The Krebs Report, which stated that culls should take place simultaneously. Furthermore, outside of the culling periods, any harm done to a badger, or its sett, is an offence under the Protection of Badgers Act. How is the public able to report a crime under this act, if the government is deliberately keeping them in the dark about the culling start and end dates?
In a further display of audacity, NFU president Meuring Raymond, has already declared the 2015 culls a success, stating that they’ve set the template for further roll outs, and Environment Secretary Liz Truss has spoken to farmers about roll outs in Devon. Neither of these people should have had access to the culling figures yet…. Has protocol gone out the window completely?
This year’s cull is over, but the persecution of badgers is not. In fact it will become far worse, until all farmers realise that they are being sold down the river with false hope, and focus on the science that is necessary to solve the Bovine TB issue.