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Badger cull breaches in Gloucestershire and Somerset show "inhumane" cull, according to campaigners

By Michael_Yong  |  Posted: March 02, 2014

By Michael Yong

Badger cull Gloucestershire 2013

Badger cull Gloucestershire 2013

Comments (6)

Campaigners against the badger cull being rolled out countrywide have released a report showing breaches during the pilot cull in Gloucestershire.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the Humane Society UK to Natural England showed in details the problems cull operators had during the pilot cull last year.

The 202-page report from the marksmen to Natural England showed how the shooting was done, time they were in the cull zone, how much baits were used, what kind of rifle and sights, and if demonstrators were in the area.

In some cases, it showed where the badger was shot, and how long it took to die.

There were 41 visits by Natural England monitors during the original six-week cull and the extensions in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Mark Jones, executive director of the Humane Society UK, and a vet from Stroud, said it provided a “disturbing insight” into the inhumaneness of the cull.

It follows a report from the BBC about the apparent findings from the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) , which said the cull was “inhumane” and “ineffective”.

Mr Jones said: “It is deeply worrying that while the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was publicly declaring the pilot badger culls have been humane, badgers were being shot in the head, neck or shoulder, which is against best practice.

“Some required more than one shot and most likely suffered substantially as a result.

“While the level of ovservation of controlled shoots was clearly inadequate, if the proportion of poor shot placement and wounding observed is in any way representative of the shooting as a whole, we could potentially be looking at hundreds of badger enduring pain and distress.”

In one instance, on September 10, marksmen used a .222 Remington fitted with a moderator, without a night vision scope in the Gloucestershire cull zone.

Using a spotlight, which was turned on for taking the shot, the badger was about 60 metres away when it was shot.

It went through shoulder and hind leg before it limped towards the sett. The marksman chased it down before shooting it in the neck from 30 metres away.

Mr Jones added: “Defra’s myth of a human and professional cull has been exposed.

“It would be a travesty to allow this unjustified slaughter of badgers to continue.

“We’ve always suspected the cull was inhumane, now we have evidence to show it. It’s time to kill the cull.”

A spokesman for Natural England said any compliance issues were being dealt with.

He added: “Our monitoring was conducted with strict guidelines to establish compliance on humaneness and safety.

“Where our monitoring identified compliance issues we have followed up with proportionate action with the contractors involved to help resolve operational issues.”

Additional monitoring during the original cull period was carried out by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), an executive agency working on behalf of Defra.

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6 comments

  • stefanu  |  March 03 2014, 7:04PM

    "Some required more than one shot and 'most likely' suffered substantially as a result" says Defra. If you'd been shot and not killed outright, would you suffer? Of course you would, not most likely! What a stupid statement to make. If the culls continue, there will be a lot more suffering. Stop it now!!

    |   20
  • eyeopener  |  March 03 2014, 3:30PM

    Oh dear the 'lets spill some blood' apologist mmjames must be desperate if he has to resort to phrases such as 'go and ask your leader'. By the way who are the ARA's he refers to? No word then mmjames about the poor shooting and the cruel and protracted deaths? No point in blaming it on protesters. The police kept them well away.

    |   18
  • mmjames  |  March 03 2014, 2:41PM

    The hidden 'costs' that ARA's don't acknowledge Cost of vaccine experiments and this will include those used on badgers, along with the laboratory use of badgers - go and ask your leader! [or look it up for yourselves] http://tinyurl.com/o5nddnn

    |   -20
  • JemmyWood  |  March 03 2014, 8:52AM

    Just worth mentioning that Dick Graham supports the cull as he does with supporting hunting with dogs. What a nice humane MP Gloucester currently has.........

    |   25
  • meymey  |  March 02 2014, 10:28PM

    how does it go, oh yes, only a mad man keeps doing the same action over and over and expecting a different result.--------------- need i say more?

    |   24
  • groundnut  |  March 02 2014, 10:06PM

    It should be remembered that the overall objective of this cull was towards the long term eradication of Bovine TB. A very significant body of Scientist expert advice given to Government clearly indicated that culling was not an effective way forward towards that objective. The Politics of Owen Paterson and the NFU bypassed that advice. We now have the IEP report which Defra say they have not received, but are bypassing anyway to rollout further culling. The IEP report appears to indicate in its leaked form, that the Cull was "ineffective and inhumane" who else but politics could again bypass this Independent Expert report and expand culling even further? In addition Freedom of Information reports clearly indicate some of the excessive inhumane practices which occurred. But this cull was not about the eradication of Bovine TB, as no TB testing was done on dead badgers. And no information is possible to be derived on any aspect of its progress towards TB eradication. Because the necessary data collection and analysis was not in place to do so. In fact the contrary could equally have occurred. The further spreads of Bovine Tb as Badger Social groups were disturbed. And as we all know "Goalposts moved and targets (sorry Guestimates) were not achieved. Again against Scientific advice. _________________________________________________________ I finish by quoting a recent Newspaper input, again from a Scientist:- Prof John McInerney, Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Policy, University of Exeter said: "Bovine TB is unarguably a serious problem in cattle farming, but the continual focus on the badger aspect is getting in the way of proper rigorous thinking about disease control. bTB is a disease of cattle and the badger is just an accessory, so badger culling (or vaccination) is just an accessory to the main problem. The control strategy has to be built directly around measures to limit the spread within the cattle population, and until this is done we will never get on top of the problem." ________________________________________________________________ I see similarities in the Political Methodology in tackling Bovine TB as to that employed with Foot & Mouth. At the time I believe the proposal was to vaccinate cattle, and the NFU said no. Not the right image for our beef industry. Slaughter all the cows, pay the Compensation and the Farmers will re stock. Same NFU in action. It seems again from expert scientific advice. That the main problem lies with Cattle and Cattle management. "The Badger is just an accessory" Wales through the Welsh Government has adopted a humane science based programme for cattle and Wildlife. No culling /Vaccinating Badgers. And the results to date are significant. NOW stop the POLITICS and listen to science.

    |   24

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