Guest Articles

To many people the evidence-base for the Coalition Government’s badger cull policy just doesn’t stack up enough to justify killing thousands of mostly healthy badgers, one of the UK’s protected native wild species.

Badgergate’s Guest Articles also confirm that people’s misgivings about the proposed badger culls go far deeper than just a sentimental distaste for killing cute, cuddly creatures that remind us of kindly Badger in Wind in the Willows. These articles certainly highlight the specific concerns of their authors about the Government’s badger cull policy. But many go beyond to also examine our relationship with nature and how we choose to manage and ‘make space’ for it in a world that is losing its wildlife at record rates – not just internationally, but also in the UK, as highlighted by the State of Nature report released on 22nd May 2013 .

We hope that you will find our selection of articles interesting and thought-provoking. We will add new articles regularly as we try to capture why people from so many different walks of life are so deeply opposed to the English badger culls.

Why we should care about independent monitoring of the badger cull

Dr Sarah Durant, Senior Research Fellow, Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
Independent monitoring allows us to assess how well governments are delivering on policies and use of public funds and thus to hold them to account. Given the many failures of last year’s government-designed, farmer-led badger culls, independent monitoring of this year’s culls is essential. ... Read the full article »

Wild thoughts

Mark Carwardine, Zoologist, Writer and Broadcaster
Bristol March 2013
Repeat after me: ‘Badgers are overrunning the country, they’re destroying farmers’ livelihoods, and they must be culled’. This contemptible fairy tale is central to the Government’s wholly underhand campaign to force the badger cull on an unsuspecting public. It works on the basis that if MPs and farming unions repeat […] ... Read the full article »

Bovine TB: Cattle, Badgers and Politicians – a profoundly revealing story

Jim Ashley, Chairman of Shropshire Badger Group
Bovine TB has been hanging around for years because politicians have regularly interfered, changed the rules, varied the finance, and consistently used the issues as a political game of chess. When they go public you can be sure that they never reveal the whole story as Jim Ashley discovered. ... Read the full article »

Of badgers, birds and bTB: why killing badgers won’t save our skylarks

Tim Hounsome, Founder & Managing Director of Biocensus
Skylark nest © Tim Hounsome
My PhD research was mentioned on Mock the Week recently. I almost spat my spag bol across the room! You can imagine my surprise that a topic that I had wrestled with for years had become so topical that it had made it onto a prime time comedy show. The […] ... Read the full article »

From lions to badgers: a perspective from Africa on carnivores and conflict

Sarah Durant, Senior Research Fellow, Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
“If the world’s carnivores are to survive we must find ways to minimise their impact on people, and also, very importantly, increase tolerance for their presence in the communities that share their landscape.” Dr Sarah Durant from Zoological Society of London (ZSL) shares her perspective on the wider conservation implications of the English badger cull. ... Read the full article »

The acceptance of wildness

Alasdair Cameron
Boar & Landscape
The English badger cull could begin any day. Meanwhile, another species, the wild boar is also at risk of an imminent cull. Writer and environmental campaigner Alasdair Cameron explains why the battle to save the badger from irrational scapegoating is ultimately about much more than this one species. ... Read the full article »

Badger cull signals dark times for the veterinary profession

Mark Jones, Veterinarian and Executive Director, Humane Society International/UK
Badger in Grass Thumbnail
Despite the overwhelming scientific view that culling badgers will not help reduce TB in cattle and grave concerns over the future of many badger populations, the British Veterinary Association and the Chief Veterinary Officer continue to support the government’s plans. ... Read the full article »

Why a badger cull won’t work

Chris Cheeseman
In October 2012, over 30 eminent scientists with considerable knowledge of wildlife and disease wrote to The Observer to explain why the Government’s proposed badger cull is very unlikely to work and risks making things worse. Dr Chris Cheeseman was among those scientists. Here he offers us a personal perspective and a deeper insight into the long-running bovine TB saga. ... Read the full article »

Badger culling – science-based policy, or policy-based science?

Mark Jones, Veterinarian and Executive Director, Humane Society International/UK
If plans proceed, this summer will see large numbers of badgers targeted and shot at by farmers, landowners and their agents wielding rifles and shotguns, in what DEFRA refers to as ‘pilot culls’ in parts of Gloucestershire, Somerset and possibly Dorset. ... Read the full article »

Why badger culling isn’t the answer

Liz Mullineaux, Veterinarian, BVM&S, DVM&S, CertSHP, MRCVS
As a veterinary surgeon, animal welfare is my primary concern. Shooting of free-running badgers has never been carried out before and is likely to result in injured live badgers. There is a real risk that dependant badger cubs will die underground at either end of the proposed culling season. ... Read the full article »