Natural England has now confirmed the expansion of the Badger Cull to 11 new areas of England in 2020. The government has gone back on its recent commitment to phase out badger culling in favour of badger and cattle bovine TB vaccination. It has licenced the shooting of badgers in 54 areas in over 28,000 square kilometres of England stretching from Cornwall to Cumbria. Badger culling has also been expanded into the low bTB risk area of Lincolnshire for the first time. Based on the maximum kill figures published by Natural England, up to 62,000 badgers could be killed by the end of 2020, bringing the total killed since the cull policy started in 2013 to over 164,000.
The Badger Trust estimates the public cost of the badger cull will exceed £70 million by the end of 2020, taking into account administration, equipment, training, monitoring, policing and legal defence costs. The governments' investment in badger vaccination to date is insignificant by comparison. With enough political will, compassion for wildlife and the environment the government could have begun to phase out culling this year.
Up to 2223 badgers will be killed in Oxfordshire. OBG has just completed a hugely successful vaccination programme, We are planning to expand our free vaccination service again in 2021. We are determined to provide a viable alternative to culling.
Our friends at BBWOT had this to say:
We are devastated to hear that badger culling has been licensed in #Oxfordshire. This is in spite of the science, in spite of our dedicated campaigning, in spite of the 100s of you who wrote to your MP to insist this didn't happen.
The badger cull is not the answer to bovine TB. Culling does not address the primary cause of outbreaks of bTB which is cattle-to-cattle transmission, and it undermines our vaccination programmes. Culling is outdated, ineffective and immoral. This government has repeatedly said it will be guided by the science, yet it seems to be ignoring its own advice
The Badger Trust have also responded with dismay to this awful news.