Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has announced that pilot badger culls will continue this year, but the controversial scheme will not be rolled out to other areas after the latest report, conducted by independent expert witnesses highlighted, numbers that the culls were expected to achieve did not materialise.
The independent report on the culls found they could be conducted safely and the majority of badgers were killed humanely but that the measures taken in the pilot scheme were not as effective as hoped for in the reduction of Bovine TB the pilots did not kill as many badgers as hoped.
The second year of the two pilots, in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset, will go ahead with changes made in light of the report to improve the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of culling. The changes will be monitored to assess their impact before decisions are made on whether to extend the programmeto other areas next year.
The NFU stated Farmers will be ‘bitterly disappointed’ at the decision not to roll out badger culls to help reduce TB and were quoted in the East Anglia Daily Times stating, “Importantly, the Independent Expert Panel has found this method of culling badgers by controlled shooting can be safe with best practice followed, even with the presence of protestors. And we do have to remember that some of these protestors carried out a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment and were, in some cases, aggressive and completely irresponsible”.
The following experts and organisationscontributed to the report:
Professor Tim Coulson
Tim Coulson is a Professor of Zoology at the University of Oxford. He is a quantitative biologist with research interests in wildlife management, statistical ecology and the development and testing of ecological theory. Much of his recent work has focused on the demography of wild animal populations.
Professor Neville Gregory
Neville Gregory is the former Professor of Animal Welfare Physiology at the Royal Veterinary College. His research interests include the suffering associated with clinical diseases and disorders, and with routine methods used in managing livestock and wildlife. In addition, he has practical experience and knowledge of humane killing of animals in the field.
Professor Ranald Munro (Chair)
Ranald Munro is the former Head of Pathology at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, and former president of the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA). He is currently Honorary Professor of Forensic Veterinary Pathology at the Royal Veterinary College, and an Honorary Fellow at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh. He specialises in forensic pathology in free living species, companion animals and farmed livestock.
Professor Timothy Roper
Timothy Roper is Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex. He is an expert on animal behaviour and has published extensively on the behaviour, ecology and management of badgers.
Peter Watson is Executive Director of the Deer Initiative and a non-executive Director of Deer Management Qualifications. He was formerly a military engineer and is now a trained ecologist with extensive practical experience in wildlife management and related training.
Professor Piran White
Piran White holds a Personal Chair in the Environment Department at The University of York. He is an ecologist whose research interests focus on wildlife management and disease, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary, British Deer Society, Cull Companies, Gloucestershire Constabulary, Natural England, National Farmers Union, Observers, Police and Crime Commissioner - Avon and Somerset.
The full IEP Report can be found at:
The DEFRA response report can be found at:
Jemima Constantine – Expert Witness Today