2020’s badger cull killing figures have finally been announced, over a month later than usual. The final kill figure was a truly horrifying 38,642, the highest figure to date as was to be expected with 55 cull zones. The total figure in the 7 years of culling now stands at 140,991.
In the ten new zones, five failed to hit the original minimum kill figure and in the other thirty two zones that were in years two, three or four eleven of the thirty two zones failed to hit their minimum target. This means that of the forty two zones still in the first four years of culling sixteen failed to hit minimum targets. As usual the Government and NFU moved the goalposts halfway through culling and quietly reduced the targets for zones, where it became clear that the original minimum target couldn’t be hit, in a desperate attempt to turn failure into success.
The announcement was proceeded a few hours earlier by a vaguely positive article in the Telegraph, the tame paper of the Tory party, with a headline which falsely stated – Badger Cull to be Effectively Banned in 2022. Reading a little further and the article actually contained little new information but rather repeated last year’s announcement that no new zones will be licensed after 2022 meaning culling would still be taking place in 2025 across large swathes of the country.
Ecologist Rosie Woodruffe gave a more realistic interpretation of the Conservative party’s desire to wipe out badgers. Her analysis suggested that 276,045 badgers would be killed over the timespan of the current culling policy of which 126,783 (46%) would be killed from this point forward, hardly suggesting that culling is effectively banned from 2022 as the Telegraph suggested.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:
“As always the release of the cull figures is a sad time for those who fought so hard across the country and the final death total is difficult to comprehend. The consolation is that the figure would have been so much higher without their amazing efforts. The Government and NFU can rest assured that hunt saboteurs and all the other fine people fighting the cull will never let them have it easy and every new and existing cull zone, where they try and kill badgers, will be a brutal slog. Cages will be destroyed in their hundreds and marksmen will have to fight for every shot and ultimately, we will stop the cull.”
A full breakdown of the figures can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-summary-of-badger-control-monitoring-during-2020