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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


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