British Conservative unscientific badger cull

This video is called Kill the Cull, Not England’s Badgers.

From Wildlife Extra:

Badger cull is ‘unscientific’ says former government scientific adviser

Former government scientific adviser and wildlife experts slam badger cull as unscientific and horrific in new HSI UK campaign video

September 2012. Large numbers of badgers targeted in the government’s proposed cull could be left maimed and bleeding to death and badgers could even disappear altogether from large parts of England, claim expert scientists and naturalists appearing in a new campaign video for Humane Society International/UK.

Chris Cheeseman, former head of wildlife diseases at the Central Science Laboratory, joins naturalist and broadcaster Bill Oddie, veterinarian and Humane Society International/UK Director Mark Jones, and Deputy Head of the RSPCA’s Wildlife Science Department Colin Booty, in a compelling five-minute video called “Kill the Cull, Not the Badgers” launched this week as part of HSI UK’s campaign to stop the proposed slaughter of English badgers.

“The government tries to justify this wildlife massacre by claiming it’s what farmers need to tackle bovine tuberculosis, but the truth is that the wool is being pulled over farmers’ eyes,” Mark Jones said. “The evidence is clear that shooting badgers won’t solve the problem of TB in cattle and it’s time that the government realise this. HSI UK’s new campaign video allows the public to hear the truth direct from the experts – this will be an unscientific and ultimately unsuccessful policy in which thousands of badgers are going to lose their lives simply because the government is unwilling or unable to reform farming practices.”

“Kill the Cull, Not the Badgers”

Bill Oddie said: “Some of those animals are going to get maimed and they will bleed to death, they will probably crawl underground and die. It is a truly horrific situation.”

Chris Cheeseman added: “This government claims that their policy is science-led but I’m afraid it’s not … [it] could lead to the deaths of — using their figures – up to 130,000 badgers over a few years to achieve an overall, at best, 16 percent reduction in cattle TB. Now there are those of us in the scientific community who actually think it [the cull] will make it worse, and I suggest that’s an unacceptable policy.”

HSI UK is one of the leading organisations opposing the proposed badger slaughter. As part of the ‘Team Badger’ coalition, HSI UK is urging supporters to write to the Prime Minister and urge a reversal of policy.

HSI UK has also gathered high-profile support for its official complaint to the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention), to which the UK is a signatory and under which badgers are listed as a species worthy of protection. Recently a host of famous names including Chris Packham, Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Jilly Cooper and Mark Carwardine, signed an open letter urging the government to delay its plans to allow for Bern to consider HSI UK’s complaint.

Network for Animals Condemns Court Decision to Allow Badger Cull: here.

February 2013. The Coalition’s decision to press ahead with two pilot culls – at a time when more new research has challenged assumptions about the badger’s role in bTB–shows contempt for public and scientific opinion, says the Badger Trust: here.

Activists plan to disrupt autumn badger cull after court appeal fails: here.

Brian May has pledged to raise millions of pounds to vaccinate badgers facing a government cull after claiming the animals deserve respect: here.

18 thoughts on “British Conservative unscientific badger cull

  1. On the HSI site, this

    Also, on that site, this

    mentions that badger culls do nothing against bovine TB, while alternatives, like stricter controls on cattle movement and testing, do work:

    Bovine tuberculosis

    Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a serious chronic infectious disease of cattle caused by the bacterium Mycobacterum bovis. It has been a problem for British cattle farmers since the 1930s, and spiralled out of control in the latter part of the 20th century. Associated statutory cattle testing, compensation to farmers and government-led surveillance and research currently cost UK taxpayers around £100 million each year.

    Direct transmission between cattle is the most common way for the disease to be spread, although a number of wild animal species are also at risk from it. Badgers seem to be particularly susceptible. In the worst bTB-affected areas in southwest England and west Wales, up to one in seven badgers may be infected.

    Since the first bTB-positive badger was officially discovered in the 1970s, debate has raged over whether badgers are a significant source of the disease for cattle. Various, largely uncoordinated badger slaughter programmes were undertaken during the following decades, but the problem of bTB in cattle continued.


    1998: In order to try and evaluate the role of badgers in the spread of bTB, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioned the largest field trial ever undertaken to investigate an infectious disease of wildlife, the so-called ‘Randomised Badger Culling Trial’ (RBCT), in 1998. The trial, which was interrupted by the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001, lasted for 10 years and cost taxpayers approximately £50 million.

    2007: In its final report in 2007, the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) charged with evaluating the results of the RBCT concluded that ‘badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain’, and in subsequent peer-reviewed scientific publications, members of the ISG found that ‘reductions in cattle TB incidence achieved by repeated badger culling were not sustained in the long term after culling ended’. The ISG identified weaknesses in cattle TB testing, and the movement of cattle, as being the major factors contributing to the spread of bTB.

    In response to these findings, the Labour government of the time announced that it had no plans to reintroduce badger slaughter.

    2008, 2010: Stricter controls on cattle movement and testing were introduced in 2008 and have resulted in significant reductions in the numbers of cattle culled and herds under movement restriction, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ own figures. This improvement has taken place without a single badger being slaughtered. Welsh Assembly plans for the mass slaughter of badgers in west Wales were halted on legal grounds following an appeal by the Badger Trust in July 2010.

    2010: However, the incoming UK Coalition government set out to re-examine the issue, publishing plans for landowner-led mass slaughter of badgers in high-risk areas of England, which it put out for public consultation in late 2010. The Welsh Assembly published similar proposals for an ‘Intensive Action Area’ in west Wales, and also launched a public consultation.

    Completed in December 2010, the results of the Welsh consultation were not widely publicised, although the vast majority of respondents expressed their opposition to badger slaughter. At the time of this writing in July 2011, the results of the consultation in England, also completed in December 2010, have not been disclosed.


    • Thank you for this information, some of which is new to me. Within the last few days my opinion has become anti-cull, due to the reading I’ve done.

      As it happens I don’t find it useful to focus on the party politics. I also don’t like the use of emotive language.

      I’m going to post a link to this thread of yours on my own blog.


      • Yes, in

        “The intervention from Lord Krebs, who led a nine-year study into the effect of badger culling on rates of tuberculosis in cattle, came as the Environment Minister, Owen Paterson, said he wanted to see the scheme rolled out beyond two pilot areas.

        The first licence to shoot badgers was granted by Natural England to a consortium of landowners in Gloucestershire yesterday. It permits the shooting of up to 70 per cent of badgers in the area.

        The figure is based on Lord Krebs’ study, which found that killing 70 per cent of badgers in a large area produced a 16 per cent drop in TB in cattle. Killing any fewer could actually increase infection rates, the study found.

        Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Lord Krebs said that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) plan was misguided because they could have no way of knowing the badger population in the trial areas.”


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