Biodiversity Conservation Ecology Environment Nature News Round-up Wildlife

The slaughter and misinformation behind it continues – over 230,000 badgers killed

Badger Trust Event in July 24

In some areas of England, the government can’t find any more badgers to kill

Government figures released today show that they killed 19,570 more badgers in 2023 as part of the government-led cull. This figure takes the total number of protected badgers killed since 2012 under the policy to 230,125.   

In many areas, particularly in heavily culled parts of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, shooters found it hard to reach anywhere near their minimum kill targets – they simply didn’t find the badgers.  This chilling reality of the effect of mass badger killing underlines what was submitted to the Bern Convention – that we are in danger of local extinction in England’s cull areas, and badger populations are not recovering. 

What evidence does Defra have of a causal link between culling badgers and a reduction of bTB in cattle? Badger culling has always taken place alongside more effective on-farm cattle measures, such as restricting cattle movements, improving biosecurity and better cattle testing – measures that do work.  94% of bTB spread is due to cattle. Without mandatory cattle measures, the cycle of bTB infection in farmed cattle will continue regardless of how many badgers are culled.

Defra’s latest consultation on “badger control operations” that closes on 22 April does not stack up – they’ve killed over 230,000 badgers and barely tested any. Yet, cattle are only slaughtered when they test positive for bTB.  Cattle vaccines are being developed across the world, and they work, yet they delay their deployment.  The government seems happy to spend more on killing badgers than developing the science that could bring bTB rates down.  Their obsession with the badger continues, and nature always pays the price.

Peter Hambly Badger Trust said,

“The killing of badgers must stop.  It doesn’t work in bTB control – it never has.  Now, the government plans to kill even more with no end date, without the science case or business case to back it up.  When they can’t find the badgers to kill, you know we are near local extinction events. After 250,000 years of badgers on this land, we may be nearing the end of the badger in some areas.  This is a national nature scandal – let’s end the badger cull before it’s too late.”  

AreaBadgers removed (killed)Updated minimum numberUpdated maximum number
Area 3- Dorset*36163383
Area 4 – Cornwall*72131380
Area 5 – Cornwall*40152461
Area 6 – Devon*1262941173
Area 7 – Devon*107145455
Area 8 – Dorset*2294751685
Area 9 – Gloucestershire2642191118
Area 10 – Herefordshire*7190359
Area 22 – Cornwall*3794481948
Area 23 – Devon4561461465
Area 24 – Devon155114421
Area 25 – Devon17939534
Area 26 – Devon15555569
Area 27 – Devon7036154
Area 28 – Devon8236302
Area 29 – Gloucestershire360172878
Area 30 – Somerset2312301795
Area 31 – Staffordshire6783732492
Area 33 – Avon47374707
Area 34 – Cheshire10551171124
Area 35 – Cornwall3802631897
Area 36 – Staffordshire184100648
Area 37 – Devon369193985
Area 38 – Devon3861731316
Area 39 – Dorset15451484
Area 40 – Herefordshire5062811253
Area 41 – Staffordshire*243351809
Area 42- Wiltshire338192550
Area 43- Wiltshire442641005
Area 44 – Avon290214290
Area 45 – Derbyshire*8338641172
Area 46 – Gloucestershire*130113154
Area 47 – Herefordshire*521558756
Area 48 – Leicestershire213188255
Area 49 – Oxfordshire277260353
Area 50 – Shropshire*123211331537
Area 51 – Somerset*728548744
Area 52 – Warwickshire*643626850
Area 53 – Wiltshire105100136
Area 54 – Lincolnshire89N/AN/A
Area 55 – Shropshire*8683113
Area 56- Hampshire156134182
Area 57 – Berkshire272027
Area 58 – Staffordshire*214190259
Area 59 – Worcestershire*191166226
Area 60 – Shropshire*652557756
Area 61 – Oxfordshire311268364
Area 62 – Buckinghamshire*705624847
Area 63 – Cornwall383384521
Area 64 – Cornwall*182164222
Area 65 – Derbyshire*761639868
Area 66 – Devon*937196
Area 67 – Hampshire*210201273
Area 68 – Northamptonshire*8287391002
Area 69 – Oxfordshire*271234318
Area 70 – Somerset*7660158
Area 71 – Warwickshire*364317431
Area 72 – Warwickshire*7796829
Totals195701514143186

Sources: 

Natural England

Table 1: Number of badgers removed by Areas 44 to 72 during 2023 badger control operations.

Table 1: Total number of badgers removed per licensed supplementary control area