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Badger cull called off – for now

Wildlife groups are celebrating following the announcement that the Gloucestershire badger cull is being abandoned early after it failed to meet any of its targets.

Natural England, which is managing the cull, is pulling the plug on shooting as of tomorrow (Saturday) lunchtime. A revised target of killing 58% of badgers in the zone had been set following the initial cull period, but this has also been missed by the gunmen.

Dominic Dyer, Policy Advisor for Care for the Wild, said that a mass protest against the cull taking place in Bristol tomorrow could now turn into a celebration.

“We must take a moment to celebrate the utter failure of a badly planned, poorly executed, inhumane cull. There would be some joy in saying ‘we told you so’ to the government, but hundreds of badgers have already been killed for absolutely no discernible reason.

“The sad thing though is that this government will now try and justify rolling out the cull to other parts of the country next year. They will say that lessons have been learned, they will say that there is no other way to beat TB.

“But if they had cared to pay attention, they’d know that we’d already learned lessons about culling – that it doesn’t work. And we know that there is another way – a revised and improved cattle management system, in conjunction with volunteer-led badger vaccination.”

The failures of the trial culls have included:

  • the complete failure to meet its targets after six weeks, then the decision to extend, which was taken against scientific advice.
  • the cost of each badger killed was more than £2500
  • humaneness guidelines were broken by trapping and shooting badgers in sub-zero conditions
  • the risk of increasing TB in the area through perturbation – badgers escaping and spreading disease – was also significantly increased when the cull was extended.

“For once can we have a government that holds its hands up and says – okay, that was a trial, it failed, we’ll do it another way. But politics and personal ambition mean that we’ll no doubt be fighting this battle again very soon,” said Dominic Dyer.

A badger cull protest is taking place tomorrow (Saturday 30th) in Bristol, starting at noon. Speakers including Bill Oddie, Simon King and Dominic Dyer.

Care for the Wild is a wildlife charity based in Horsham, Sussex. To find out more, see


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