Badger cull to use shotgun

FARMING Minister George Eustice.

FARMING Minister George Eustice.

First published in News
Last updated

SHOTGUNS will again be used in the badger cull in Somerset, despite opposition from vets and animal welfare groups.

Rifles were used in last year’s trials, however, due to the lack of evidence, the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which was set up to oversee the culls, was unable to make a judgement on their efficacy.

The IEP won’t be overseeing this year’s culls.

The monitoring will instead be done by Natural England, the licensing authority which has said the use of shotguns will continue.

This is despite a report by the IEP stating that shotguns should not be included in any roll-out unless monitoring shows that controlled shooting is humane and safe.

The Humane Society International believes that Natural England’s monitoring “in no way guarantees animal welfare”.

HSI’s executive director Mark Jones said: “I’m appalled that Defra is arrogantly ignoring the clear advice of the British Veterinary Association on the basis of the IEP’s findings, by allowing badgers to be killed with shotguns this summer despite the fact that there is no evidence at all to show this is humane.”

The Government also faced a backlash following the release of figures which show new tuberculosis outbreaks in cattle are at their lowest rate for ten years.

Statistics show the monthly incidence rate – the proportion of new outbreaks of bovine TB in England – was around 3.25% in March 2014, the lowest since 2004. Local figures also show a drop in the number of cattle slaughtered because of the disease.

In Somerset, there was a 50% drop with 375 cattle slaughtered from January to March this year, compared to 725 slaughtered in the same period last year.

Ministers said the statistics show that controls as part of the strategy to eradicate TB are beginning to make a difference.

Farming minister George Eustice said: “We cannot become complacent. “The impact of bovine TB on our cattle farmers, their families and their communities cannot be overstated.

“That is why must do everything we can to reach our aim of making the whole of England TB free.”

Animal welfare campaigners said the figures show there was no justification for the badger cull.

Dominic Dyer, of the Badger Trust and Care for the Wild, said: “There is no way that the badger culls from last year could have influenced these numbers at all so the drop is purely because of the tighter farming controls that have come in over the last couple of years.

“The Government unfortunately would rather keep quiet about this because these figures don’t justify a badger cull.”

Comments (6)

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11:09am Tue 24 Jun 14

VetStudent123 says...

And cows (and badgers) coughing up their lungs before being shot is humane?
Maybe some of these people proposing making the UK into a badger sanctuary should research the reasons behind the decline in hedgehogs.

Either allow these licensed culls to go ahead or it will be done illegally to the detriment of the badgers and the cows.

I would also appreciate people's views on this video. https://www.youtube.
com/watch?v=DODojjlx
nwY
And cows (and badgers) coughing up their lungs before being shot is humane? Maybe some of these people proposing making the UK into a badger sanctuary should research the reasons behind the decline in hedgehogs. Either allow these licensed culls to go ahead or it will be done illegally to the detriment of the badgers and the cows. I would also appreciate people's views on this video. https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=DODojjlx nwY VetStudent123
  • Score: -6

1:29pm Tue 24 Jun 14

SamF92 says...

The pilot, by all accounts, failed, so the solution is to unleash a load of trigger-happy people with shotguns? Ridiculous. Of course it's inhumane. Unless they get up nice and close and blow them to pieces the poor things are just going to end up with non-fatal wounds from pellets that have scattered from long-range shots.
The pilot, by all accounts, failed, so the solution is to unleash a load of trigger-happy people with shotguns? Ridiculous. Of course it's inhumane. Unless they get up nice and close and blow them to pieces the poor things are just going to end up with non-fatal wounds from pellets that have scattered from long-range shots. SamF92
  • Score: 1

5:22pm Tue 24 Jun 14

n cartwright says...

dont make me laugh about hedgehogs, they are in decline because of pesticides both i gardens and on farmed fields, blame the badgers ,, total spin as most of this cull is and will be until it and Paterson are gone. Its a political game now and farmers are being used by the government as puppets, wake up guardians of the countryside before your countryside is gone.
dont make me laugh about hedgehogs, they are in decline because of pesticides both i gardens and on farmed fields, blame the badgers ,, total spin as most of this cull is and will be until it and Paterson are gone. Its a political game now and farmers are being used by the government as puppets, wake up guardians of the countryside before your countryside is gone. n cartwright
  • Score: 4

5:48pm Tue 24 Jun 14

JustMakinAPoint says...

VetStudent - I hope I never end up with the misfortune of having one of my animals treated by you, as you are frighteningly uneducated!
You say that badgers are responsible for the dramatic reduction in the hedgehog population – if you had read the State of Nature Report, backed by the Hedgehog Society and the RSPB, you would know that a change in agricultural techniques and increasing intensification methods are cited as being the major cause of species loss.
You say that badgers are the causes of bovine tb, yet only 1.7% of badgers carry the disease.
As a student vet you should know that the cost of bovine tb is miniscule in comparison to the major causes of slaughter within the British cattle industry; those being mastitis, lameness and infertility.
You advocate culling where you should know that vaccinating badgers is the only viable option. Wales is trialling a vaccination programme. It is showing early signs of success and if they can vaccinate sufficient numbers to develop herd immunity, at the end of five years any infected badgers will naturally die out, leaving a healthy population.
There are also no safety issues, associated with vaccination whereas there most defiantly are with shooting in the dark in an area where we know protesters will be present! Also there are no lingering deaths – as someone who is hoping to become a vet I would hope that animal suffering would be something that you totally oppose. You should be aware that the Independent Expert Panel raised concerns about the number of badgers that took more than five minutes to die. This year Defra propose to allow free shooting by shotgun – something that the independent review panel specifically stated should not be allowed. This year Defra propose not to have independent scrutiny (presumably because the scrutiny last year concluded that the cull was a cruel failure). This can only result in more agonising deaths for innocently creatures.
These pilot culls do not discriminate between healthy or unhealthy badgers. Many badger sets are free of bovine tb and will remain to be so if left alone. If these disease resistant badgers are disturbed then it can only result in a diminishing of disease resistance in our wildlife reservoir.
The truth about bovine tb is it is largely caused by poor animal husbandry, overcrowding and cattle movements. The UK has the highest cattle movements in Europe – and anyone who knows the industry knows this is the cause of bTB.
As a trainee vet please bother to get your facts right before putting your views in writing!
VetStudent - I hope I never end up with the misfortune of having one of my animals treated by you, as you are frighteningly uneducated! You say that badgers are responsible for the dramatic reduction in the hedgehog population – if you had read the State of Nature Report, backed by the Hedgehog Society and the RSPB, you would know that a change in agricultural techniques and increasing intensification methods are cited as being the major cause of species loss. You say that badgers are the causes of bovine tb, yet only 1.7% of badgers carry the disease. As a student vet you should know that the cost of bovine tb is miniscule in comparison to the major causes of slaughter within the British cattle industry; those being mastitis, lameness and infertility. You advocate culling where you should know that vaccinating badgers is the only viable option. Wales is trialling a vaccination programme. It is showing early signs of success and if they can vaccinate sufficient numbers to develop herd immunity, at the end of five years any infected badgers will naturally die out, leaving a healthy population. There are also no safety issues, associated with vaccination whereas there most defiantly are with shooting in the dark in an area where we know protesters will be present! Also there are no lingering deaths – as someone who is hoping to become a vet I would hope that animal suffering would be something that you totally oppose. You should be aware that the Independent Expert Panel raised concerns about the number of badgers that took more than five minutes to die. This year Defra propose to allow free shooting by shotgun – something that the independent review panel specifically stated should not be allowed. This year Defra propose not to have independent scrutiny (presumably because the scrutiny last year concluded that the cull was a cruel failure). This can only result in more agonising deaths for innocently creatures. These pilot culls do not discriminate between healthy or unhealthy badgers. Many badger sets are free of bovine tb and will remain to be so if left alone. If these disease resistant badgers are disturbed then it can only result in a diminishing of disease resistance in our wildlife reservoir. The truth about bovine tb is it is largely caused by poor animal husbandry, overcrowding and cattle movements. The UK has the highest cattle movements in Europe – and anyone who knows the industry knows this is the cause of bTB. As a trainee vet please bother to get your facts right before putting your views in writing! JustMakinAPoint
  • Score: 9

4:22pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Freetalk says...

I think the cull was unfair to use as a marker due to the disturbance created by the anti Shoot protesters.
I understand they caused major disruption, to both the shooters, poor farmers and locals alike.
You can't claim it failed with all that disruption!
I think the cull was unfair to use as a marker due to the disturbance created by the anti Shoot protesters. I understand they caused major disruption, to both the shooters, poor farmers and locals alike. You can't claim it failed with all that disruption! Freetalk
  • Score: -1

4:19pm Thu 26 Jun 14

KevinTurvey says...

Could we just insult them?

I know.....it`s only mocking voles but i like it .
Could we just insult them? I know.....it`s only mocking voles but i like it . KevinTurvey
  • Score: 0

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