11th August 2015 -MEDIA RELEASE - Local Badger Campaign Group
Challenges NFU to face the facts
Whilst the NFU are stating publically that the two years of badger culling in Gloucestershire have been a big success, the recent publication of a House of Commons report confirms that the cull in Gloucestershire has been an expensive and ineffective waste of public money. Local campaign group, Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS), are so sure that the evidence in the report confirms that further culling in the county is not going to work that they are challenging the NFU to come and talk publicly about the figures.
Jeanne Berry of GABS said “This latest independent House of Commons report pulls together much of the evidence about culling over the last two years in Gloucestershire and the details it contains confirm that the Gloucestershire cull has failed and should not go ahead again this year. The level of detail in the report is excellent and it totally undermines the NFU’s assertion that the cull has been a success in Gloucestershire and we’d love our farmers to read the facts. Some of the most disturbing facts are:
- The government really has no idea how many badgers there are in the cull zone (see extract 1).
- Only 78.7% of the badgers killed in Gloucestershire badgers were accurately shot (see extract 2) and despite NFU claims that the shooters are highly trained, 14% of shots observed by independent government ministers in Gloucestershire missed the badger completely compared to 8% in Somerset.
- 9.5% of badgers shot at were not retrieved and probably were left to die in their setts in agony (extract 3)
- Gloscon, the cull company has failed to meet the government’s own targets for the number of badgers shot for the last two years. In 2014 alone they wanted to kill over 1000 badgers when in fact they only killed 274. (see extract 4)
This report is full of this sort of detail and yet the NFU and others are still saying that the cull has been a success and resulted in a decrease in cattle TB, but DEFRA has confirmed that there is no evidence to support this claim. I have written to the Gloucestershire NFU Chair to come and debate these figures and I look forward to airing the facts in public so that the government can be held accountable if they foolishly go ahead with yet another cull in Gloucestershire.
Contact: Jeanne Berry
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Notes to Editors
Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting website http://www.glosagainstbadgershooting.org/
House of Commons Briefing paper http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN06837
Government Summary of 2014 culls https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-summary-of-badger-control-monitoring-during-2014
Report of the Independent Expert Panel into the 2013 cull https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/300382/independent-expert-panel-report.pdf
Extract 1. Report of the IEP into the 2013 cull: “Table 4.3 of the IEP report shows that there were 6 different badger population estimates for Gloucestershire between 2011 -2013 made by DEFRA and the farming industry. Estimates varied between 1339- 5423.”
Extract 2: Govt Summary of 2014 culls: “There was a difference in the proportion of shot badgers having major thoracic damage between the two areas with 78.7% of West Gloucestershire badgers having major thoracic damage compared with 89.2% of West Somerset badgers. This difference is statistically significant (chi squared test p=0.03).”
Extract 3 “The outcome of Shooting Events for the two areas combined is presented in Table 1. Fifty-seven badgers were shot at and retrieved, with 52 of these receiving a single shot and 5 receiving multiple shots. Six badgers were shot at but not retrieved. “
Extract 4 HOC Report: “The culls commenced on 27 August 2013, initially for 6 weeks. After failing to meet the culling targets of 70% of the badger population, the culls were extended in both areas. Despite the extended cull period, both cull targets were missed. An estimated 65% of the badger population was culled in Somerset and less than 40% was culled in Gloucestershire. The IEP raised concerns about the humaneness of shooting as a culling method in their report in April 2014, highlighting that standards of humaneness needed to be improved if culling was to continue in the pilot areas. The Government announced that the culls would continue, with amendments to improve effectiveness in the proportion of badgers killed and time taken for shot badgers to die. The second year of the cull took place in autumn 2014. Minimum targets for the number of badgers to be culled to meet licence conditions was met in Somerset, but not in Gloucestershire.”