Our response to the News that Badger Culling will be ‘Phased Out’ (January 2021)

It would seem that, despite clearing up the misinformation (disinformation?) being spread by the government and media almost a year ago, we’re back countering claims once again.

You can view our post from last year by clicking here

We collaborated with Gloucestershire Badger Office to put together some information following media reports in January this year, just days before the government released kill figures for the 2020 badger cull.

Gloucestershire Badger Office’s response, 29th January 2021

Badger Cull phase-out. What you should know about the proposed end of cull licensing and DEFRA Consultation. BADGER CULLING CONTINUES. Please ignore the attention-grabbing headlines stating that it is to be “banned”.

You may remember that around this time last year we were all discussing the government’s announcement that badger culling would be phased out. Unfortunately many people believed that this meant that culling was over… and this is not the case. Below we have summarised the proposals regarding culling, and included the consultation and PDF detailing the full proposals.

In short, the government is currently proposing to make various changes to the bTB control strategy and, as intensive and widespread culling was only ever intended to be a “phase” of the strategy, this is the time they have decided to prepare to move to non-lethal methods. The cull-specific parts of the proposal are:

  1. No new licences for intensive culling (zones culling for 4yrs) will be issued after 2022
  2. New zones granted licences in 2021 and 2022 could see these licences revoked after only 2 or 3 years if a progress report concludes it necessary
  3. Supplementary culling (the ‘maintenance’ culls which follow on from the 4yr culls) will be limited to 2yrs, with no re-issuing of licences to areas which have already completed supplementary culling
  4. Some local areas may still see some culling of badgers occur if it is deemed necessary in the future

In practice we could still see new zones given licenses in 2022 and carrying on for 4yrs (finishing in 2025) then moving on to a 2yr supplementary cull in the area, meaning culling would end in 2027 in those zones (potentially 31st January 2028). What it means for current supplementary zones is yet to be seen – depending on when the proposals are acted upon (and if changes are made to them) we could still be fighting supplementary culls in Gloucestershire and elsewhere this year despite it already occurring for longer than 2yrs. After this year any supplementary culls running longer than 2yrs may well be stopped.

The idea of a 2yr period of supplementary culling is to give areas time to train and prepare for widespread vaccination of badgers and of cattle to avoid any ‘limbo period’. The reason that 2022 has been decided on as the last potential year for issuing licences is to allow any areas which are interested in culling and have not previously signed up to prepare for culling and to apply for a licence.

And, remember, these are the current proposals. So nothing is set in stone anyway…

THE CONSULTATION: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/bovine-tb-2020/eradication-of-btb-england/

Prior to completing the consultation you would need to read the following PDF as not all of it refers to the cull. Up to page 22 gives you the information, the remainder of the pages are annexes to refer to. The PDF is here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/bovine-tb-2020/eradication-of-btb-england/