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Bovine TB begins and ends with cattle, with badgers playing at most a minor role. Photo: Will Fisher via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Dodgy data, bad science, rotten politics: why the badger cull is wrong and stupid

Tom Langton

28th April 2016

If we are ever to bring bovine TB under control in Britain's cattle herd, we must begin with the main disease reservoir, writes Tom Langton: the cattle themselves. The insistence on culling badgers has little to do with disease control, and everything to do with the short term economics of the beef and dairy industries, unwilling to sacrifice an iota of production in the interests of a real solution. more...
US soldiers perform a platoon mounted and dismounted live-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany Oct. 6, 2010. Photo: Gertrud Zach / The U.S. Army via Fliclr (CC BY).

Thought for Earth Day: whether it's badgers or Trident missiles, shooting solves nothing

Linda Pentz Gunter

20th April 2016

Why do we humans resort to shooting, whenever a challenging problem confronts us? Whether it's culling badgers to protect hedgehogs, or renewing the Trident missile threat with expensive upgrades, our species seems determined to upset the balance of nature and harmony on Earth by shooting first - and never asking the questions at all. more...
Anti badger cull demo in Oxford, 25th October 2014. Photo: Snapshooter46 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Badger cull: protestors' legal right to information upheld

Lesley Docksey

1st April 2016

Since December 2011, when it became clear that the government was intent on its badger cull, Defra and Natural England have been flooded with FOI requests about how the culls would be set up, conducted and monitored. The notable success of Anna Dale in cutting through official obfuscation has implications for everyone trying to protect the environment and wildlife. more...
British badger - will the BVA's Animal Welfare Strategy provide any protection? Photo: Ian Usher via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Vets - rethink your support for English badger culls!

Mark Jones

4th March 2016

The British Veterinary Association has just launched its long-anticipated Animal Welfare Strategy, writes Mark Jones - and very welcome it is too. But it's also completely incompatible with the BVA's support for England's cruel and utterly unscientific badger culls. It's time for an urgent rethink. more...
Dairy farm in Somerset, a county with a high bTB incidence. The farm has a certain dilapidated rustic charm, but it's hardly an environment in which strict biosecurity can be guaranteed. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tall stories: BBC's anti-science support for badger culling

Lesley Docksey

2nd March 2016

A programme to be broadcast on BBC2 promoting badger culling as the answer to bovine TB is praised in the corporation's flagship Radio Times, writes Lesley Docksey. But both are criticised by experts for their inaccuracy and bias. The main reservoir for bTB is, and always has been, the cattle themselves - and that's where the real solutions begin. more...
At least Canterbury's badgers will be safe, for now. Photo: Ian Blacker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Shoot first, ask no questions later: more badger culling, less science

Lesley Docksey

23rd February 2016

With 29 applications for new badger culls, writes Lesley Docksey, the government still has no idea how many badgers there are in the cull areas, or how many of them have TB. Nor does it want to find out. The badger culling project is getting less scientific by the day - or should that be by the square kilometre? more...
Why did the badger cross the road? Maybe to get away from an Environment Secretary on a personal mission of death and destruction to Britain's wildlife. Photo: Badger in the Quantock Hills of Somerset by Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Truss's decision: badger culling will continue, with no evidence it works

Lesley Docksey

5th January 2015

Sneaked out shortly before MP's Christmas recess, the Government's decision to 'carry on culling' badgers with no evidence that the slaughter is reducing the incidence of bovine TB is a travesty of process, writes Lesley Docksey. But it does have one useful outcome - it has exposed Defra's claims that the cull is 'science-led' as arrant nonsense. Science never even got a look in. more...
Badger at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchapel, Surrey. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr (CC BY).

So badger culls are working? Liz Truss, produce your evidence!

Oliver Tickell

18th December 2015

Environment Secretary Liz Truss told Parliament yesterday that England's badger cull is 'working', and needs to be extended into new areas, writes Oliver Tickell. Yet she and the NFU have refused to release the evidence to back up her claims. Now MPs and NGOs are joining the cry: 'publish or be damned!' more...
In the dark: a badger in Pembrokeshire snaffles up a tasty snack. Photo: Chris Frewin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

In the dark: badger cull cost-benefit report is state secret

The Ecologist

2nd November 2015

The Government has refused to publish its report on the cost effectiveness of England's badger cull because it is 'still in draft form'. Campaigners say the real reason is that it reveals the cull to be cruel, ineffective and incredibly expensive. more...
Cattle grazing near Swanage, Dorset, July 2015. Photo: Claire Cox via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The case for the Dorset badger cull

Mel Squires / NFU

31st August 2015

The government is right to extend the badger cull into Dorset, writes Mel Squires in this 'right of reply' article. While culling badgers is only part of the solution of bovine TB, along with annual TB testing of cattle and badger vaccination, it is a necessary measure in areas of high risk. more...
This cull is not the answer to TB in cattle - and now the question will be settled in the High Court. Photo: the badger march outside Parliament, 8th June 2013, by David Clare via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Brian May: I'll take Dorset badger cull to the High Court

The Ecologist

30th August 2015

The government's decision of extend the badger cull to Dorset, and persist with the Somerset and Gloucestershire culls, is 'completely irrational', say badger protection groups - and now they intend to prove it in a High Court legal action, forcing an end to the killing. more...
Badger at dusk, British Wildlife Centre. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

English Nature - no more badger cull licences!

Iain McGill & Veterinary colleagues

21st August 2015

English Nature's decision to licence England's badger cull has no scientific basis, write Iain McGill and 26 other distinguished vets in this Open Letter to EN's Chief Scientist. Science Advisory Committee and Board. The body must urgently re-examine the entire issue before issuing any more licences to kill badgers. more...

badger: 1/25 of 76
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Bovine TB is above all, about cattle and their biosecurity. Happy cows in England's beautiful Peak District. Photo: Rick Harrison via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The NFU's dishonesty over badger culling

Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey

22nd August 2015

As they argue for an extended and intensified badger cull, some farmers have been making extravagant and improbable claims about giant badgers frolicking with their cattle in the sunshine, write Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey. But despite holding office in the NFU, they display astonishing negligence by failing to adopt the most elementary bio-security measures advised by Defra to keep their cattle TB free. more...
Do not disturb: sleeping badgers in their sett at the British Wildlife Centre. Photo: John Morris via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Do not disturb! Persecuting badgers may perpetuate TB hotspots

Oliver Tickell

17th August 2015

A scientific paper published today says badger persecution may be one of the reasons for the persistence of bovine TB hotspots, writes Oliver Tickell. A further finding is that the main risk factors for bTB are all to do with cattle - not badgers at all. more...
Milked fresh from real badgers every day! (Only kidding) Photo: ken fager via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Where Caffè Nero leads on badger-free milk, others will follow

Dominic Dyer

13th June 2015

Milk farmers in the badger cull zones hardly depend on Caffè Nero's custom, writes Dominic Dyer. So why are the pro-cull lobby so hot under the collar with the coffee chain's refusal to buy their produce? Because it could force the entire food chain to take responsibility for how milk is produced - and a very good thing too! more...
Prince Charles during the Big Jubilee Lunch on Piccadilly, 4th june 2012. Photo:  chego-chego via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Get on with badger cull, Prince Charles told Blair

The Ecologist

13th May 2015

In a private letter to Tony Blair released today Prince Charles strongly urged Tony Blair to expedite a badger cull in 2005, raising the spectre of a third 'food scare' that would strike down British farming on the scale of BSE and Foot & Mouth disease. more...
Free range, grass fed cattle in the Derbyshire uplands. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA)

The scientific case for badger culling - an organic farmer writes

Charles Mann

9th April 2015

Organic farmer Charles Mann, aroused by The Ecologist's anti-cull stance, makes an evidence-based case for culling badgers in areas of high TB incidence - together with other measures including enhanced testing in apparently 'low risk' areas that present a high risk of disease spread. more...
The voice of the people? Protester on the People's Assembly March Against Austerity 2014. Photo: The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Will the badger cull cost the Tories the election? It certainly should!

Dominic Dyer

16th March 2015

David Cameron has called the badger cull is 'probably the most unpopular policy for which I am responsible', writes Dominic Dyer. But unable to break his pledge to landowners and the NFU, he has left Environment Secretary Liz Truss to fudge the issue until election time. Electorally fatal? So events may prove. more...
If only badgers could read. Photo: jayneandd (CC BY 4.0).

Fail - 2014 badger cull didn't kill enough badgers to be effective

Rosie Woodroffe

20th January 2015

Sneaked out just before Christmas, Defra's assessment of the 2014 badger cull inspired NFU leaders to claim 'success', writes Rosie Woodroffe. But the figures indicate the precise reverse: that too few badgers were killed to be effective against bovine TB, indeed the cull may even help to spread the disease. more...
Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr.

2014 badger cull failed - but the cull goes on

Oliver Tickell

18th December 2014

England's 2014 badger cull has failed to meet key targets for effectiveness with such low numbers of animals shot that TB spread is likely to be increased. But Defra boss Liz Truss insists the cull will go on regardless. more...
An English badger cub, innocent as summer days are long. Photo: Peter Burnage via Flickr.

Badger cubs to be shot in new 'summer cull' plan

Damian Carrington / the Guardian

10th December 2014

England's 2015 trial badger cull will be moved to summer, writes Damian Carrington - when cubs are numerous and easy to shoot. The surprise move follows 2014's failed autumn culls, which missed their minimum kill targets. more...
Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr.

Badger Trust claims victory in the court of public opinion

The Ecologist

3rd November 2014

The Court of Appeal last month ruled that England's Badger cull is lawful despite the lack of independent supervision. But on the eve of a fresh Parliamentary debate, and with public opinion backing the badgers all the way, the Badger Trust is the clear winner where it really matters - in public hearts and minds. more...
Never mind the questions, never mind the answers, never mind the evidence. The badgers will be culled. Photo: b/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.

Unlawful, ineffective, toxic: the badger cull must end - vaccination is the answer

Dominic Dyer

10th October 2014

The Badger Trust' is in the Court of Appeal today, making its case that the 2014 'trial' badger cull is unlawful, writes Dominic Dyer. But beyond that, the entire culling policy is driven by politics, not science, and is doomed to failure. It's time for Cameron to harness his 'big society' to apply a genuine solution: badger vaccination. more...
A good day in the countyside? Seven brace of pheasant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr.

In Defence of Life - standing up against the lust for culling wildlife

Lesley Docksey

14th Septmber 2014

British officialdom and those they serve are obsessed with the killing of wildlife, writes Lesley Docksey. It seems that whatever the 'problem', from bovine TB to the serendipitous arrival of beavers in Devon, the reflex is the same - to kill wild animals. But increasingly, the British people aren't having it. And our fightback is making waves .... more...
Never mind the questions, never mind the answers, never mind the evidence. The badgers will be culled. Photo: b/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.

Badger cull fail - government throws science on the scrapheap

Rosie Woodroffe

9th September 2014

England's 2014 trial badger cull starts today - with no independent oversight, and no gathering of essential scientific data. The government's 'science-led' policy consists of asking scientists for help, writes Rosie Woodroffe - then completely ignore everything they said, and order them off the premises. more...

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