Inquisitive badger Meles meles, Northumberland © – Nikon D3, 600mm, 25/sec, f4, ISO 6,400, -1 ev. Do not use this image without permission.

‘We could be wiping out half the population of badgers in the UK for absolutely no reason at all’ – Mark Carwardine.

The government has seen fit to plough ahead with badger culls to try to solve the bovine TB problem in cattle. This is misguided and ignores the government’s own scientific review conclusions.

‘The scientist whose research is being cited by the government to justify its plan to cull badgers in England has described the scheme as “crazy”.’

Let me be clear however that I do undertand that there is a massive and costly problem with bovine TB and yes, badgers do transmit it to cattle. Shooting badgers is not the solution though. £49m of tax-payers’ money over 40 years has been spent to scientifically research whether culling badgers will eradicate bovine TB. The conclusion of the 150 scientific papers? Culling would actually make the bovine TB situation worse.

Culling badgers risks wiping them out completely in a region. If they’re not wiped out, what’s the point of leaving one badger with TB? It’ll just reinfect the cattle. Even if they do get wiped out, or numbers are reduced significantly, badgers are territorial and the neighbouring badgers will move in to fill the vacuum. To put it bluntly, unless we make badgers extinct in the UK, what on earth is the point of culling them? There will always be bovine TB in the badger population. Do we want to make badgers extinct in the UK?

‘The plan showed that the spread of the disease could be slowed slightly if more than 70% of badgers in an area could be eradicated. If it was less than 70% – the spread of TB to cattle might even increase.’

So that’s useful then. They won’t even know what proportion of badgers have been culled because there isn’t a reliable way of working out how many there are in the first place.


What’s the answer then?


Wales has gone down this route. Opponents of vaccination argue that it’s too expensive. I can understand this, but then just think what the economic fall-out already is with bovine TB. Yes, vaccination of badgers and cattle will cost a lot, but it has to be set against the current cattle losses. At least it’s effective, when culling is not.

The following video explains the facts, with Sir David Attenborough, Simon King, Mark Carwardine and George Monbiot.

What can you do? Please sign the ePetition to stop the cull. And share this blog post and the ePetition link.