1371 badgers lost to the cull in Oxfordshire as DEFRA reveals at least 33,627 badgers were slaughtered in 2022 as part of its controversial badger cull strategy.
The figures confirm the fears of local and national animal welfare charities and their supporters that up to half of Britain’s total badger population have now been killed, a total of 210,555 badgers.
Culling spells disaster for this much loved protected species
Julia Hammett, Chair and Trustee of Oxfordshire badger group (OBG) said
“This huge death total is shocking, however at OBG we will continue to work with landowners who prefer an alternative to killing badgers via our badger vaccination scheme, educate the public on our wonderful largest mammal and rescue injured badgers.”
Shocking figures just released by the government1 show that 1254 badgers were culled in Oxfordshire in 2021 - up from 1040 in the previous year, which was the 1st year of culling in the county.
Worryingly, the number of badgers killed by the cruel and inhumane ‘free shooting’ method has increased from 61% to 80% , meaning that many more animals are likely to have suffered a painful and lingering death.
The Government’s promise to phase out the cruel, costly and ineffective cull and support badger vaccination rings hollow as it continues to increase the kill targets and culling zones year on year.
Why are cull companies not being encouraged to vaccinate and release the 20-40% of badgers that are cage trapped before being shot?
Across the country 33,687 badgers were culled in 2021 bringing the total to 176,628 since 2013 at a cost of around £100 million. This is the largest slaughter of a protected species on record. Although 94% of bTB infections are from cattle to cattle, there has been a failure to focus on cattle measures.
A new scientific paper published in the Veterinary Record analysed Government bTB surveillance data and concludes that culling badgers has had no effect on reducing TB in cattle. The paper finds that any bTB reduction was due to cattle measures implemented before or during the cull period.
Oxfordshire Badger Group believe that the vaccination of badgers in the county is a more humane and cost effective alternative. The group has been working with farmers and landowners since 2018 to deliver a free vaccination programme. This year we will be covering a much larger area than before thanks to many more landowners and volunteers taking part.
We call on the Government to stop the cull. Badgers in Oxfordshire are already under threat due to the unprecedented level of housing developments. Culling an iconic, protected native mammal on such an intensive scale is not acceptable in one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
Natural England released details of the cull licences on 7th Sept 2021. There are 7 new cull zones including Berkshire and a 3rd cull zone is added to Oxfordshire's tally. Last year, 1040 badgers were killed in Oxfordshire. This year the new 'area 61' allows for a minimum of 875 and a maximum of 1186 badgers to be shot. This years 'targets for Area 49 are 833-1412. So much for the promise to scale back on culling ! The licences will run for four years unless all the badgers are killed or the government sees sense and ends them early.
The government have issued a number of important statements on the Cull at the end of January. We were horrified to learn that shooters in the Oxfordshire cull zones killed 1040 badgers in the 1st year of culling (639 by free shooting and 401 cage trapped and shot). Overall least 38,642 badgers were killed in 2020. You can read our newsletter summarising events here.
The Badger Trust has issued a statement criticising Defra badger cull challenge response as ‘meaningless’ and exposes the lack of a serious policy to control bTB.
In this ByLineTimes article Claire Hamlett speaks to exasperated vaccination volunteers after 64,000 more badgers are threatened with a cull. Our own lead vaccinator, Debbie White was one of those interviewed.
This week OBG has heard from two landowners that have heard about the badger cull licence been issued in Oxfordshire. These landowners are worried that the badgers on their land will be shot and killed.