At present several campaign groups are listing boycotts on their websites as part of a broader badger cull campaign.
- Animal Aid – “Boycott dairy products. The badger cull is being driven by dairy farmers who are blaming badgers for the appalling welfare conditions of the cows.” animalaid.org.uk
- Save Me Campaign Founder Brian May called for a boycott of milk products from the cull zones in 2012. save-me.org.uk
- Viva! Viva! consider the issue of bovine TB to be caused by the dairy and beef industry as a whole. They are therefore running a UK wide dairy boycott as an attempt to save badgers. Viva! is a vegan organisation. viva.org.uk
Background to the boycotts
During the 2012-2013 cull season there was varied enthusiasm for a badger friendly milk campaign as a method of opposing the trial badger culls.
Brian May from Save Me and Gavin Grant, previous Chief Executive of the RSPCA, were the key drivers behind badger friendly boycott calls, with Stop the Cull and Viva! continuing to actively implement milk and a full dairy boycott respectively.
The rationale behind these calls was based on the notion that dairy farmers and the problems they experienced with bovine TB were the key drivers of the cull, both economically and motivationally. Encouraging consumers and retailers to apply economic pressure on dairy and/or beef farmers was therefore deemed the natural focus for a badger friendly boycott campaign.
However, time has passed. The 2012-2013 trial culls were deemed ineffective and inhumane by the government’s independent expert panel; plans to role out the cull to ten other areas within England have been dropped; the communities and farmers living within the cull zones are reportedly increasingly fed up with the badger cull. But, even since these damning reports the cull has persisted and is set to continue.
Boycott options – what do you think?
Support is generally high for boycotts of the products of farmers and landowners which belong to cull consortia and permit culling on their land. Such products could include milk but also other produce such as cheese, meat and cereals.
However it is proving to be difficult to identify which farms within a cull zone are supportive of a cull and which are not. Boycotting farms which oppose the cull within the cull zones does not feel right for many people.
Coffee chain Caffè Nero were the first big company to voice their concern against the badger cull. Caffè Nero pledged, in June 2015, not to buy milk from farms within the cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset, however it is unclear whether this boycott persists.
What do you think? Are there better targets for economic pressure on this subject?
Join in the conversation on Ethical Consumer’s badger forums.