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‘Secret’ report on badger cull revealed by FOI

Fears that Independent Panel review of cull will be nothing but ‘window dressing’.

A ‘secret’ report on the badger cull trials has been produced by Defra and Natural England, according to an FOI request – prior to the official Independent Panel Review which was meant to investigate the policy.

Care for the Wild has become aware of this report via a Freedom of Information Request, and has informed the Shadow Environment Minister, Huw Irranca Davies MP, who is now seeking immediate disclosure from Owen Paterson and a debate on its contents by MPs in Parliament after the Christmas recess.

Dominic Dyer, Care for the Wild’s Policy Advisor, said: “Owen Paterson has been as difficult to find as Lord Lucan since the end of the disastrous badger cull pilots.

“He has refused to discuss the outcome of the pilot culls with MPs, the media or the wider public. Instead we learn that he has commissioned an emergency review of the disastrous cull policy, which he is now declining to share with MPs or debate in Parliament.

“The fact this report has been produced in advance of the so-called Independent Panel undertaking its review of the pilot cull trials is very worrying, as it’s a clear sign that the Panel is little more than window dressing. It implies that the political decision to roll out the cull has already been taken by Owen Paterson and the National Farmers Union without any scientific, animal welfare or economic justification.

“Owen Paterson needs to stop determining government policy in backrooms with the NFU, and start behaving as if he works for a democracy. He should immediately disclose the full contents of the DEFRA badger cull pilot review and address its key findings in his first public speech of 2014 at the Oxford Farming Conference on 6 January.

“The badger cull should then return to Parliament for a full debate and vote, and the Prime Minister should ensure Owen Paterson attends this debate and is held accountable for this disastrous policy, in the face of increasing anger from MPs across all parties.”

Care for the Wild is a charity based in Sussex dedicated to the protection of wildlife in the UK and abroad. For more information or if you would like to support our work, see


12 Responses to ‘Secret’ report on badger cull revealed by FOI

  1. Gill Mitchell Dec 22, 2013 at 08:16

    From the start, OP has shown that he is not prepared to listen to evidence from prominent scientists who have studied badgers for years and advised that a cull would not work. He won’t be swayed by the growing tide of public opinion against the culling of badgers. He will not listen to any criticism of his policy over badgers and has now gone into hiding. The only way to stop him is to get this government thrown out and continue the peaceful protesting against the cull until that happens.

  2. Paul Walsh Dec 20, 2013 at 14:14

    “Pimpernel” Paterson…”They seek him here. They seek him there…”

  3. Roger Weeks Dec 20, 2013 at 11:52

    Owen Paterson exposed. No democracy here. Positively frightening that it has gone so far. Farmers beware, I have a disturbing vision of the future, of mega dairies all owned by supermarkets with farming having gone through the same evolution as that of ‘independent petrol garages’. And of course there is the ugly face of GM on the horizon promoted by ‘you know who’, badgers being a thing of the past, only existing as stuffed exhibits in museums, along with the dodo.

  4. Clued-Up Dec 20, 2013 at 10:30

    I’m wondering whether Paterson is now suffering some kind of mental breakdown. It’s distinctly odd that he’s been seen so little in public since his statement about badgers moving the goalposts. That bizarre remark may have prompted Cameron to insist on a period of sick leave.

    Just as strange is the lack of any official explanation for Paterson’s absence.

    DEFRA’s likely to be in a state of utter confusion if Paterson’s out of the picture and the only political leadership it has is that of Eustice (very new, only a junior minister and – to my eyes – fairly inept).

  5. Sue Aldous Dec 20, 2013 at 09:02

    Owen Paterson, being egged on by NFU is destroying the farming community reputation. Farmers need to remember that they are in business and have customers. The public are their customers and if they are alienated it will be a long time before confidence is restored. PLEASE farmers, research the science, don’t blindly listen to people who have hidden agendas. Rich landowners don’t care about you or your reputations and certainly OP doesn’t care, he’s only looking out for himself. The BTB figures are improving with better controls. Much better way with vaccination of badgers alongside.

  6. Nigel M Dec 20, 2013 at 08:42

    If George Osborne makes a statement on the economy then he is required to back it up with evidence from a variety of sources such as the Bank of England. Otherwise people can quite rightly question the validity of his figures. Owen Paterson on the other hand thinks he is excused from such requirements and that we’ll all take his word as gospel. Who does he think he is ?

  7. Diane Bartlett Dec 19, 2013 at 21:20

    He’s does shout, I had a meeting with him and he red faced yelled at me, said that the likes of David Attenborough and Simon King don’t have a clue what they were talking about.

    I heard the same speech he gives on TV interviews, he doesn’t seem to know anything else. The NFU has filled his head with so much rubbish it can’t see the wood for the trees. Farmers need to step in and try to protect their business now because if this continues they will have a political fight on their hands as the Badger army grows. When we start talking to people highlighting the truth about farming, folks aren’t going to want to eat meat or drink dairy!

    • Christopher Evans Dec 20, 2013 at 10:16

      Amen Diane.

  8. Elaine Susan Cairns Dec 19, 2013 at 18:49

    Owen Paterson should be dismissed from his post as Environment Secretary, He should not be allowed to hide to cover the truth about his shambles of a Badger Cull. Why is he keeping hidden from other MPs who want to ask him valid questions. Does this fool of a man think he can hide forever??? Come out, come out Paterson where ever you are!

    • Christopher Evans Dec 20, 2013 at 10:19

      Amen Elaine.

  9. Martin Hall-Kenny Dec 19, 2013 at 18:45

    At the end of the day, unless it’s completely cancelled (unlikely), none of it will matter. The Badger Army WILL stop them, by any means necessary.

  10. Marta Falco Ainley Dec 19, 2013 at 18:39

    I think Owen Paterson can’t take opposition. He appears to not be well informed when you consider that he in Minister for the Environment. He should know about the badger control history and research and I think his assumptions about how to deal with cattle bTB has been so ill informed, an absolute fiasco. Saddest of all is that about 2000 badgers died and we are none the wiser.

    He shouts when confronted with disagreement.


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