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July 12, 2012

Badger Cull Court Decision Is A Devastating Blow for Badgers

HSI/UK’s Bern Convention challenge now offers the last hope for badgers

Humane Society International/UK

  • Badgers are under threat. Chris Craft/iStock

Update: On 19 July 2012, the Badger Trust lodged an appeal in response the failure of the Judicial Review, as mentioned below, to block the badger cull in England.

Humane Society International/UK is extremely disappointed that the Badger Trust’s Judicial Review proceedings have failed to halt the UK government’s proposed English badger slaughter. HSI/UK’s Bern Convention complaint is now the badgers’ last hope.

HSI UK has issued the following response:

Mark Jones, veterinarian and Executive Director of Humane Society International/UK, said:

“Today’s High Court judgement is a devastating blow for badgers and for the protection of our wildlife. HSI UK’s complaint at the Council of Europe’s Bern Convention may now be the badgers’ last hope and we are determined to do everything we can to prevent this bloody and pointless slaughter. Right from the start, the cull has been robustly challenged by scientists and conservationists alike, and yet the government has ignored the evidence in favour of appeasing farmers and landowners with a license to kill. As signatories to Bern, the UK has an obligation to keep the badger population out of danger, an obligation that is undeniably abused by the plan to shoot and kill the vast majority of these magical animals in local areas. England’s badgers are relying on Bern to succeed where the High Court has failed.”

In January this year HSI/UK lodged an official complaint against the English badger cull with the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) in Strasbourg. HSI/UK believes that the government’s plans to license the culling of badgers clearly breach its obligations as a signatory to the Convention. The Bern Secretariat has confirmed it is not satisfied with the response it has received from DEFRA and it will give further consideration to the complaint later this year.

Badgers are listed in Appendix III of the Bern Convention and as such the government is committed to regulate their exploitation to keep populations ‘out of danger.’ HSI UK believes that the proposed slaughter of badgers constitutes a breach of Bern on three grounds:

  • Killing badgers will not solve, or even significantly reduce, the problem of TB in cattle.
  • The proposed slaughter will seriously disturb badger populations.
  • The UK government is not doing enough to ensure that stringent cattle-based measures to control TB in cattle are imposed or enforced before resorting to wildlife extermination.
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