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Sunday, June 28, 2020

UK Government backtrack on pledge to end badger cull

Plans by government ministers, announced in March, to phase out mass badger culls to replace then with wildlife vaccines appear to have fallen through a massive popularist hole as the Independent reports that projects to trap and shoot the animals have been extended across England. (Health warning: don't watch the video on the second link).

The paper says that another 100,000 badgers could be killed by the end of the year as the government prepares to broaden culling from Cornwall to Cumbria. That would add to the estimated 100,000 already killed since 2013, in a failed and misguided effort to protect the dairy farming industry from bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

Natural England, the government’s nature adviser, has this year approved seven badger cull licences in new areas and three in existing areas, and the Badger Trust expects 10 more to be agreed by the end of August. Each licence runs for four years. Fifteen new licences were issued last year and 11 in 2018:

“A lot of the public and politicians have been misled by this policy,” said Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the trust. “The government is betraying public trust and carrying out an act of ecological vandalism. At a conservative estimate, this will result in 60,000 more dead badgers this year, but the number could well rise to over 100,000.”

He warned that expanding culling could push the species to the verge of local extinction in areas of England inhabited since the ice age, in a programme that has cost taxpayers £70 million so far.

This is a huge betrayal by the government, whose whole programme of culling has been cruel, vote-seeking and contrary to the science.
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