Figures released by DEFRA on 16th December reveal that almost 1500 badgers were shot under license in the cull zones in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset in 2015. This brings the total number of badgers killed to almost 4,000 over the past three years, at a cost to the taxpayer that's probably in the region of £25 million.
The weight of scientific evidence and expert opinion suggests that badger culling should play no part in bovine TB control policy. Killing badgers is nothing more than an ineffective, inhumane and expensive distraction, and is proving to be a public relations disaster for government and for the farming industry. Unfortunately, it seems that scientific evidence, expert and public opinion counts for little.
After two years, the government's own results clearly show the pilot culls have failed to deliver on either effectiveness or humaneness.
And so it begins again. In spite of all the evidence and against all reasonable scientific advice, the sound of rifles and shotguns will be ringing out at night across large parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset over the coming weeks, as innocent badgers are indiscriminately massacred whilst going about their nocturnal business
David invited us to his farm to video the tragic events unfolding. The result is an emotionally charged yet shocking video. We make no apologies for that. This is the distressing reality that farmers like David are having to face as bovine TB continues to devastate farming families across large parts of the country.
From the lack of commitment to implementing the 'Biodiversity 2020' strategy, to a lack of progress on marine-protected zones, to uncertainty around planning regulations and their impacts on protected areas, government is failing to provide the necessary leadership and resources across a raft of essential environmental policy areas.