The Defra Consultation on more 4-year intensive badger cull licences in 10 new areas, this year and next, alongside more supplementary culling and other measures, ended on 7th April of this year. Defra issued changed guidance to Natural England on 27th May accordingly and immediately revealed that a record number of Supplementary Badger Cull licences (20) were issued on 14th May to become active on 1st June 2021.
Despite the tangled words of the consultation documents, particular assertions stood out, including that “badger culling is working”. Defra refused to retract their misleading statement or to extend the consultation period. It is now clear that Defra defend their new policy by resting all but completely on one analysis (using only data to 2017) suggesting a much caveated, theoretical estimate of bovine TB (bTB) reduction benefit from killing badgers.
We believe the available data tells a very different story. Recent release of key data enables levels of bTB to be considered over the 2010-2020 period. These data suggest that herd breakdowns were under control in the High Risk Area well before badger culling could have become effective. The big picture suggests only that badger culling cannot be said to have worked. There is no evidence. Defra have dismissed claims that the data (including the 2020 cull data that they hold secret) show that the badger culls have failed. They don’t want to release it until later this year, once culling has started.
On 9th May this year, the Court of Appeal granted permission for a Judicial Review of an aspect of the 2020 challenge to the “Next Steps” policy. This relates to government breaching its duties under the NERC Act 2006. This case was expedited, and held on July 22nd. You can read more about what happened in Court in our 29th July blog. The judge indicated that he would be making his decisions in due course. An exact date is not clear, but within six weeks seems likely, and probably before the end of August. A further case is stayed on that outcome.
How long can the pointless, counter-productive killing go on? According to the 2020 policy, this may continue forever. Cattle measures that should have been in place years ago are only being very gradually applied in England, prolonging the agony for farmers. How long before the government stops doing exactly what vested interests demand and brings to an end the flagrant misuse of public funds on scapegoating badgers? It has to stop.
The Badger Crowd was formed in 2017. It is a voice for the public to challenge incorrect process and procedures surrounding the badger cull and to highlight poor use of science. The badger cull is one of the worst wildlife abuses of modern times and we will continue to challenge the wrong decisions surrounding it.
We will continue to seek justice in the best interests of badgers, wildlife, farming and the tax-paying public. Thank you again for all your hard work and donations in support to-date. Together we are The Badger Crowd. Standing up for Badgers.