Oxfordshire's 4th year of badger culling is underway
Linda Ward writes
I was one of the many ‘badgers’ silently protesting outside Oxford University’s Department of Biology last Friday. The badger cull season started on 1st September. DEFRA licences for the 3 'Oxfordshire' Cull zones allow for a total of 1834 badgers to be shot, but cull licences from neighbouring countys extend into the county. We estimate around 60% of the county (west of a line from Banbury to Thame) is a killing zone. Shooters aim to ‘remove’ seven in 10 badgers. They are operating within 5-10 miles of Oxford City. Over the next 8 weeks, thousands of healthy badgers will be shot in Oxfordshire alone. Families will be decimated. The cull is NOT being ‘phased out’ as promised. Many new licences have been issued, and existing ones expanded this year.
Government may be about to break its promise to end culling in 2025. It is to consult on introducing 100% culling in response to new bovine TB (bTB) outbreaks in cattle herds. Culling could continue indefinitely across most of England. Why? scientific evidence from 10 years of culling shows that culling every badger in the country won’t affect the spread of the disease. bTB is hidden in the herd and passed from cow to cow.
Covid has taught us what it takes to control an infectious disease:
isolation - vaccination - detection
The farming industry simply does not want to bear the cost of taking the better cattle measures that could eradicate it quickly. “Business as usual” has already cost 210,000 badger’s lives. It could drive badgers to extinction in large areas of Oxfordshire.
What is Oxfordshire Badger Group doing to try and stop the cull?
OBG has joined the Oxfordshire Badger Coalition in running the "Save Oxfordshire's Badgers (SOB's) Campaign. We are raising public awareness and gathering press interest. We are lobbying decision makers to reject 100% culling proposals and to stop the cull without delay. SAD (street) badgers are appearing at locations around the County.
Culling was 'born' in Oxford. It should END HERE and NOW
We call on Oxford University to speak out. It’s original research (the 2013 Randomised Badger Culling Trial) is outdated. It is being misused to justify the genocide of a native species. The University rightly, is proud of it’s reputation for shaping evidence base policy and for scientific and moral integrity. It cannot remain silent when badgers face extermination in it’s name. We urge the University’s leaders to call for badger culling to stop. For the sake of the cows, the badgers the farmers and the reputation Oxford University.
Oxfordshire Badger Group vaccination programme
Our vaccination programme offers concerned landowners a humane alternative to culling. We've expanded the area covered again in 2023. Our landowners, volunteers and donors are just amazing. Vaccination is hugely successful, but takes most of our energy. Hence, OBG is not currently running wounded badger patrols.
How you can help
Spread the word: Culling is a BIG INDUSTRY
Many people think that culling has ended. The Badger cull is hugely unpopular – polling shows that more people than ever (80% of adults) oppose culling. Tell everyone you know that culling is not over and is likely taking place close to home. Share our social media posts.
Object: Write to your MP
The Cull is a political decision, largely driven by the conservative party and the National Farmers Union. We have to hold all politicians to account - a change of government might not guarantee an end to the cull unless MP's understand the public will not tolerate it continuing.
We ask everyone to write to their MP and local Councillors telling them to call for an end to badger culling. Find their contact details on WriteToThem.com
Donate to the SAD BADGER Crowdfunder
Oxfordshire is - literally - at the EPI-CENTER of the Badger Cull. We need funds to fight an effective local / national campaign. If you can donate - even a few pounds - that would be a great help.
Linda Ward, Trustee of Oxfordshire Badger Group