The end of the cull in 2016

The badger cull in 2016 ended in October. Three new counties had culls this year bringing the total number of counties to six. A government report estimated that on a purely financial basis, extending the cull should mean the benefits outweigh the costs, due to economies of scale and the benefit of past experience. However it admitted this estimate was made with “considerable uncertainty”.

Numbers of badgers killed are due to be released in December. The targets from Natural England for this year are stated below:

Devon: Minimum 3,358, maximum 4,558

Cornwall: Minimum 2,173, maximum 2,950

Gloucestershire: Minimum 1,691, maximum 2,628

Dorset: Minimum 1,672, maximum 2,350

Herefordshire: Minimum 872, maximum 1,183

Somerset: Minimum 75, maximum 544

Meanwhile, new evidence was brought to light this August by Professor Rosie Woodroffe, at the Institute of Biology in London, after a two year study. She stated that Bovine tb is spread via dung slurry and the environment, and that contaminated pasture, slurry and manure should be managed as infectious. She also stated that if there are infected badgers, small scale culling only increases the range and spread of the disease, so it may be counterproductive.

“The evidence suggests that licensed badger culling is inhumane and costly, with limited expected benefits for bTB control and a realistic prospect of detrimental effects”, she concluded.