When DEFRA announced that badger culling would be phased out by 2025, many people believed that the cull had ended. Sadly, culling in Oxfordshire intensified, seemingly with the intent of shooting as many badgers as possible before the deadline. Over 50% of the county is in the killing zones. In addition to the 3 Oxfordshire zones, culling spills over our borders with neighbouring counties.
We are SAD. We are TERRIFIED and we are ANGRY
We believe that 5000 - 6000 badgers have been killed across Oxfordshire during the first 3 years of culling (2020-22).
The first of the Oxfordshire cull licenses should end in 2023 and culling should cease after 2025. However, DEFRA policy allows 'epidemiological culling' (epi-culling or EC). This involves killing ALL (100%) of badgers across a large area in response to a new 'hot spot' /cluster of herd breakdowns. Epi-Culling was first introduced in Cumbria, and has been adopted on a trial basis in parts of England over the past five years.
A recent scientific report * shows that epi-culling is ineffective as a control measure. However, DEFRA, APHA, the bTB Hub/ NFU and British Cattle Veterinary Association, continue to advocate it's use. Epi-culling would see badgers killed in response to bTB herd breakdowns. So it could continue as policy until bTB is eradicted (clue - not anytime soon, unless better cattle controls are adopted).
During 2021, APHA identified two herd breakdown clusters in Oxfordshire. In October 2022, the Oxfordshire bovine TB cluster pilot was launched and will run for at least one year. The pilots supplement existing control measures (which include existing cull licences). They are creating a coordinated a network of farmers and landowners. This would provide a very efficient platform for epiculling in the designated cluster areas.
DEFRA has announced (August 2023) that it will hold a consultation on culling in the autumn of this year. It is likely to include proposals to pilot epi-culling in Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire - a heartland for badgers over the centuries - could see them becoming locally extinct across large areas of the county.
WE CAN'T LET THIS HAPPEN
We've teamed up with others across the country who are concerned by the threat of epi-culling to:
APPEAL - to the conscience, integrity and humanity of decision makers to end the cull
INFORM - raise awareness that culling is not over
MOBILISE - 85% of the public oppose badger culling but many believe it has ended.
EDUCATE - The science shows culling badgers has no impact on bTB control
Badger Culling was born in Oxfordshire - the home of the Randomised Badger Cull Trial (RBCT)
LET'S END CULLING ONCE AND FOR ALL
Spread the word: Follow #oxfordshiresbadgershame and @oxonbadgers on Facebook and Twitter.
Donate to our Save Oxfordshire's Badgers (SOBs) - stop the cull campaign on
The Badger Trust 'End the Cull 2023'
The government bTB industry stakeholder information hub https://tbhub.co.uk/
A bovine tuberculosis policy conundrum in 2023. On the scientific evidence relating to the Animal and Plant Health Agency/DEFRA policy concept for ‘Epidemiological’ badger culling. An independent report by researchers and veterinarians to Defra and the UK Parliament. Griffiths, L.M., Griffiths, M.J., Jones, B.M., Jones, M.W., Langton, T. E. S., Rendle, R.M., & P.R. Torgerson. 2023.