UK Government Announces Plans to Phase out Badger Cull


It was widely reported earlier this month that the government of the United Kingdom has announced that it intends to phase out its annual badger cull. We welcome this long-awaited step towards ending this cull and hope that this means that the lives of tens of thousands of badgers will be saved. 

The UK’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) released a statement outlining the future of its plan to phase out the widely unpopular culling of badgers as part of their wider bovine tuberculosis strategy. The government will introduce vaccine programs in order to move away from the current culls. Defra secretary Geroge Eustice has stated that “no one wants to continue the cull of a protected species indefinitely.”

The following paragraph was included in a Defra Executive Summary:

“The government intends to start deploying badger vaccination in areas where the four-year cull cycle has ended, alongside ongoing surveillance of the disease in badgers in that area. After the infection in the badger population is dealt with by culling followed by badger vaccination, it will allow other measures such as cattle vaccination to be more effective. This is the combined approach needed to achieve the government’s goal of eradicating the disease by 2038.

A demonstration against the badger cull in 2013. Image credit Delaina Haslam, CC BY-SA 2.0.

While we welcome this positive step, which should prevent the killing of countless badgers, Animal Aid continues to advocate for an immediate end to the badger cull. The badger cull is unscientific and cruel and has been pushed by the dairy industry, which has failed to adequately address its own shortcomings and responsibility for the spread of bovine tuberculosis. 

An important way to help badgers is to stop financially supporting the dairy industry. With the widespread availability of vegan dairy alternatives, it is easier than ever before to make this compassionate change. 

We hope this move by the government indicates the beginning of a true end to this cruel cull, to which over 100,000 badgers have needlessly lost their lives.

Featured image: a European badger. Image credit John Campbell, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Animal Aid was founded in January 1977 to work, by all peaceful means, for an end to animal cruelty. Our vision is a world in which animals are no longer harmed and exploited for human gain, but allowed to live out their lives in peace. We work hard to bring an end to practices that involve animal abuse and exploitation, but we also take a pragmatic approach and call for measures such as CCTV in slaughterhouses, that will help to reduce suffering in the meantime. Click to see author's profile.

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