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December 18, 2014

Dismay as DEFRA Vet Endorses Third Year of Badger Cull in 2015

HSI/UK condemns failures and calls for culls to be halted

Humane Society International/UK

  • Defra endorses third year of badger culling. Dirk Freder/istock

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens announced today the badger cull policy should continue for a third year in 2015.

Humane Society International/UK reacted swiftly in condemnation of the announcement that rubber-stamps animal cruelty and flies in the face of almost unanimous opinion from scientists that the cull is not an effective means to tackle cattle tuberculosis.

Timed to coincide with the final day of Parliament before Christmas, the announcement carefully avoids any opportunity for democratic debate or scrutiny. Publishing a summary of data on effectiveness and humaneness at the same time as releasing the CVO’s recommendation to proceed with a 2015 cull, likewise avoids proper consideration of the data by stakeholders.

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Claire Bass, Executive Director for Humane Society International/UK, said: "Sneaking this announcement out on the last day of Parliament before Christmas speaks to the failings the government must recognise in its own policy. It fails animal protection by subjecting animals to inhumane shooting; it fails farmers by promising a solution to TB that scientists agree cannot be delivered by killing badgers; and it fails the public by wasting valuable funds that could be far better deployed on nationwide badger vaccination, improved farm biosecurity and stricter cattle movement measures.

“We need only look to the Welsh for a humane and effective alternative to this cull. They have so far vaccinated more than 3,000 badgers, implemented stricter cattle measures, and their cattle TB incidence is coming down year on year. We urge the government to replicate the Welsh model and kill the cull once and for all.”


  • Statistics released today describe a second year of badger cull failure.
  • The published information confirms that the Gloucestershire cull of 274 badgers failed to achieve the minimum target number of badgers to be shot (615), and that the Somerset cull reported killing 341 badgers, only just meeting the minimum target of 316 badgers.
  • DEFRA abandoned the Independent Expert Panel for the 2014 cull meaning there has been no independent scrutiny.
  • The Independent Expert Panel report on the 2013 pilot culls concluded that they were neither effective nor humane. They failed to meet targets despite weeks of extensions, and with as many as 18 percent of badgers taking more than 5 minutes to die.
  • DEFRA’s own figures also confirm that the failed 2013 cull came at a cost of about £5,200 per badger, despite the fact that the majority of badgers shot are likely to have been completely healthy and TB-free.

      Media contact:

      Wendy Higgins, Communications Director: +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

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