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Badger Trust share DEFRA’s letter responding to consultation concerns

Badger Trust share DEFRA’s letter responding to consultation concerns

Badger Trust and Wild Justice join together to share the response from DEFRA publicly to help guide consultation responses.

DEFRA has extended its “badger control” consultation by three weeks but has failed to provide additional information to the public to make an informed response.  

Based on the lack of sufficient information in the consultation, Badger Trust and Wild Justice had key areas of concern, regarding which they requested clarification and additional information.

We are sharing DEFRA’s response to our 22nd March joint letter with you here. Although DEFRA did extend the deadline for the consultation by an additional three weeks—in line with standard practice for other consultations—they did not publicly provide any additional resources.

We are sharing their response with you in the hope it might help guide your response to the consultation—primarily to highlight the absence of data that DEFRA holds regarding cull operations.

DEFRA’s response to our letter remains vague and contradictory and lacks sufficient information. 

For example, the consultation states that “the economic impact of bovine TB is one of the factors considered in the present consultation”. Yet DEFRA’s response letter states that the proposed ‘targeted badger control’ strategy is based on non-financial factors.  Therefore, DEFRA claims it does not need to justify an economic case for the new, targeted, extreme approach.

There is not even a veiled attempt at an impact assessment of the proposed strategy, or any robust plan for ensuring badger populations do not become locally extinct.

Peter Hambly, Executive Director of Badger Trust, commented:

“Although culling has happened in England for the past 11 years, killing over 230,000 badgers to date, DEFRA still does not have the tools to conduct any form of impact assessment on badgers, or the impact of culling on other native wildlife and ecosystem services.”

“We urge you to respond to this consultation to voice your concerns over the lack of transparency or robustness of this devastating policy, which is failing both farmers and our native wildlife.”

“If we don’t act now, this new targeted policy could mean the end of badgers in this country as we know it.”

Badger Trust and Wild Justice jointly instructed Leigh Day solicitors to send an urgent request to DEFRA on 22 March 2024 on their recently published consultation to evolve badger control policy and introduce additional cattle measures.

DEFRA’s legal team responded to our letter on 19th April at 17:07, just one working day before the consultation’s original end date.

DEFRA has now extended the deadline for responding to the consultation to 13th May at 23.59