Badger culling: Ireland and the UK

Posted: February 19, 2012 in Welfare
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Badger culling has been going on in Ireland over the last 20 years to help stop the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis.

Photo gotten from “This is dairy farming” see link at bottom post (1)

The main method used to cull badgers in Ireland is with the use of snares and the Irish Wildlife Trust have estimated that over 6,000 snares are laid down each night. Once caught in a snare it can take the badger’s hours if not days to die if the traps aren’t checked frequently. As well as the drawn out death of the adult badgers often the badger’s young will slowly starve to death in their sets.

the type of snare used by the Irish government ( Wildlife Extra) 2

As well as snaring several badgers other wildlife and even cats and dogs can just as easily wind up caught in these snares. Below is a photo of a landowner in Ireland with one of his four dogs which all ended up getting snared within a week.

Dog before badger snare was removed (Badger watch Ireland)

While the government insist that the culling is worth it, and that TB is at an all time low, specialist and wildlife organisations question if it is a significant reduction to justify the continuance of this method and want to push forward vaccine programmes as an alternative.

The UK is now planning to run a trial on badger culling in 2 areas in Somerset and Gloucestershire in autumn of this year. Farmers in the designated areas will be given special permission to shoot badgers on sight during a 6 week period, and then they will review the trial and decide on further action. There is also talk of gassing badger sets however this is being frowned upon by welfare groups as it is not planned to first identify the problem sets within an area so in a lot of cases the badgers being culled may not even carry TB.

Over 10 years John Krebs had studied the use of badger culling and its benefits and feels that overall it is an ineffective approach to the TB problem. His advice to the British government would be not to cull however he feels the government have dug themselves into a hole and can’t sit back and do nothing. Bovine Tb is costing farmers and the government millions each year and feels any action at this point is better than no action.

The whole badger culling case the government are putting forward is very sketchy and they do not seem to be taking enough precautions. The badger numbers in Ireland are not even being monitored properly and may even be endangered at this stage. If not eradicating culling completely it is felt amongst most organisations that sufficient research into alternatives and a full badger population survey should first be conducted before any trials are run in the UK.

If you agree with the Irish Wildlife trust and think that it is time to put a stop to badger culling in Ireland please visit their website and help out by signing their petition or becoming a member by following the link below:


Irish wildlife Trust campaign poster

Photos and useful links:

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