Team Badger Statement Badger Cull Figures 2016

Team Badger Statement Badger Cull Numbers 2016

Team Badger believe the government’s BTB eradication policy has failed because the focus is on killing badgers and the problem lies within the cattle herd.

We are very concerned that the government authorised extending the badger cull zones in 2016 before the initial four year culls had been completed. Therefore their decision has been based on anecdotal evidence.

In the first three years of the badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire, a total of 2476 badgers were killed at the cost to the taxpayer of £6775 per badger.

The original culls were loosely based on the criteria of the RBCT trials conducted in the late 1990s and still the leading piece of science undertaken on the subject. 

In 2016, the minimum number of badgers to be killed is 9841 across ten separate cull zones. The cull licences issued by Natural England to authorise the culling of a protected species are completely different to the original licenses and now bear no resemblance to the RBCT trial specification and data. This makes any analysis of the effectiveness, efficiency or efficacy of the badger culls impossible to evaluate with statistical data.

The government has claimed that they will gain efficiencies in costs from the increased scale of the culling and they certainly need to. Currently, it costs around £675 to vaccinate a badger whilst culling is more than 10 X more expensive. The 2016 badger culls could cost the taxpayer £45-50 million pounds if they have achieved all the minimum targets and achieve a 25% cost efficiency saving. Even a 50% cost saving has still cost the taxpayer over £30 million.

We don’t believe the government can justify the spending of £30-£50 Million pounds and cannot show any benefit for that money. Over the next four years, that could be £200 million pounds of your money wasted on an exercise that could, through perturbation make the situation even worse. 

The science is clear and simple. The current testing regime and lack of movement controls are the key problems that need to be tackled. Bovine TB remains latent within the herd after testing and the red can only continue to breakdown whilst the infection remains. Badgers are infected by cattle and can then become a carrier. The virus can lie dormant within the badger for many years and, in many cases the animals shows no symptoms. At the present time, it has not been established how Btb passes between badger and cow.  

Bovine Tuberculosis is a devastating disease. We believe that the only way to eradicate the disease is by improving the cattle testing regime, restricting cattle movement and removing infected cattle from the herd.