British governmental badger killing mess

This video is called European Badger (Meles meles).

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Badger cull killed only 24% of animals by controlled shooting, figures show

Freedom of information request reveals just a quarter were culled in the way the six-week pilots were designed to test

Thursday 23 January 2014 12.07 GMT

Only a quarter of the badgers in two pilot cull areas were killed in the way the schemes were designed to test, official figures have shown.

The revelation that only 24% of the badgers in the two areas were culled using “controlled shooting” – shooting free-running badgers – in the original six-week culls has prompted criticism of government claims that the pilots were a success.

The Guardian reported last October that farmers and officials had “hit the panic button” and brought in experts to trap badgers in cages, after initial culling efforts with free-shooting failed to kill badgers at a fast enough rate to meet targets.

The two pilot culls in the West Country were run to see if controlled shooting could be done safely, humanely and effectively as part of a programme to reduce bovine TB in cattle herds.

Previous studies have shown that to be effective in reducing the disease in herds, culling had to remove 70% of the badgers – which can spread bovine TB to cattle – in an area.

But a freedom of information (FOI) request has revealed that in the west Somerset pilot just 360 badgers, about 25% of the total estimated population of 1,450 in the area, were killed by controlled shooting in the six-week period of the cull.

Far more – 490 badgers – were trapped in cages and shot in that time.

In west Gloucestershire, 543 badgers were killed through controlled shooting in the six-week period, 23% of the 2,350-strong population, while 165 were cage-trapped and shot. Trapping and caging [are] a more costly option than shooting free-running badgers, and one of the justifications for the cull was the need to save money – £100m is paid annually in compensation to farmers whose cattle are slaughtered because of bovine TB.

The pilot culls have been criticised for not being effective, as the overall number of badgers killed fell short of the 70% benchmark in both areas.

In west Gloucestershire just 30% of the estimated population was killed in the six-week period and in west Somerset the figure was 60%. Both culls were extended and in total, 40% of badgers were killed in Gloucestershire and 65% in Somerset.

Critics of the cull, who claim it is not an effective way of reducing bovine TB in cattle herds and is inhumane, said the breakdown of the figures for methods of culling further undermined claims by the government that the pilots were successful.

Dominic Dyer, policy adviser for wildlife charity Care for the Wild, said: “The pilot culls were designed to test that controlled shooting was a safe, humane and effective means of reducing 70% of the badger population in the two areas.

“They actually only managed to reduce 24% by that method. Any suggestion the culls were a success is therefore grossly misleading.”

He also raised concerns that the government did not give the information on a breakdown of methods used to cull badgers when requested by Green MP Caroline Lucas, even though the figures had been revealed in the FOI days earlier.

Answering a written question by Lucas last year, the farming minister, George Eustice, said: “Further details on the method used to remove badgers will be released in due course once analysed by the independent expert panel.”

Dyer said: “This is vitally important information that has been swept under the carpet or hidden by political sleight of hand. “Owen Paterson has claimed that the culls were a success because in Somerset they ‘killed 60%’ of the badgers. But he doesn’t admit that the majority of these were killed by trapping and shooting, which was not what these trials were meant to test.”

Relying more on cage-trapping to meet the 70% target could also push up costs of the cull.

The environment department’s impact assessment, estimating the costs of each culling area as £4.5m, was based mainly on controlled shooting, with some use of cage-trapping.

Controlled shooting was estimated as costing just £300 a sq km a year, and cage trapping and shooting would cost £2,500 a sq kma year. A combination was estimated at £1,000 a sq km a year.

Badger cull failed humaneness test, independent panel finds. Blow to plans for further culls as report reveals killings were neither humane nor effective at curbing TB in cattle: here.

February 2014: The 2013 badger cull pilot schemes in Somerset and Gloucestershire fell far short of their targets, according to an independent scientific assessment organised by the Government. The number of badgers killed was lower than required to demonstrate the effectiveness of culling in controlling the spread of bovine TB, and the test for humaneness in the methods used to kill the badgers also failed. Up to 18 per cent of culled badgers took longer than five minutes to die, the assessment found, which contravened the requirements of the scheme. And although there was evidence that TB within the control areas diminished, it increased in areas outside the trial.

Rescuing baby badgers: here.

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9 thoughts on “British governmental badger killing mess

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