HomeManagementBadger ManagementBackground - presenting the facts to the public

Background - presenting the facts to the public

British Wildlife Management

Wildlife Welfare


Bovine TB and Badgers Consultation
Background - presenting the facts to the public

The Report of the Krebbs Committee concluded in December 1997 that there was compelling evidence that badgers were a significant source of TB in cattle. The Governments overriding objective is to identify science based TB control policies which will allow healthy cattle and badgers to co-exist in our countryside – Baroness Hayman – Ministry of Agriculture - Nov 23 1998.

With the TB Eradication policy now where it was about 40 years ago, the Minister has thankfully at last announced a consultation on the culling of badgers.  He has proposed the use of either snaring, shooting or carbon monoxide gassing methods for control, but has also proposed that culling be carried out by farmers with Defra issuing appropriate licences – Despite the misery and disruption farmers have had to endure and the carnage of their stock, it is unrealistic to expect farmers to carry out an effective cull and nor should they be pushed into doing so – J. Gallagher et al – The  Veterinary Record – March 4, 2006

Badgers have for long been recognised as the heaviest and most aggressive predator of a wide range of species. It was inevitable that that those who believe in leaving everything to nature and those involved in day to day management of the countryside, should eventually face up to each other in the struggle for intellectual, moral and practical control of best practice, in the good management of our countryside, and the species who share it with us. 

Good management of wildlife stands on a three legged stool of all year round habitat provision, food and water, and protection;  protection from people, predators and disease.  If one of the legs of this management stool is kicked away, the system collapses. The wildlife manager and the species would probably have to have to start again, if they were lucky.  Protection should clearly not involve the neglect of current protection policies promoted by animal rights organisations, which have placed them in the invidious position, where they are now proven to be promoting cruelty and preventing kindness.

Such protection policies have been secured by animal rights groups misleading and deceiving the public and Parliament.   By then milking human emotions, sums of money are fraudulently gathered from the public by a wide range of organisations led by the RSPCA.  Far from leading on the issue of science based policies to promote kindness and prevent cruelty, the RSPCA has failed to produce the required reasoned arguments backed by credible research for their wildlife policies.  The fact that public opinion is swung against good management practices by expensive and misleading advertising campaigns and lobbying, justifies firm Government action and criminal investigations.

John Rolls, RSPCA, and Andrew Hind, Charity Commissioners, (letters, Feb 24) state that charities are legally entitled to carry out campaigning and political activities as a means of furthering their charitable purposes.  In doing so, Charity Commissioner guidance calls for reasoned argument and evidence based on quality research, not the personal viewpoints and emotions of members.  The blatant failure of the RSPCA to undertake this process in conducting their anti-fox hunting and badger protection campaigns lies at the heart of this damaging animal rights confrontation.  Imposing strict welfare requirements for farm animals and neglecting uncontrolled and diseased badger populations, which share common habitats, and as predators seriously impact on other wild species, demonstrates the RSPCA’s confused ethical base.  In practice they are promoting cruelty and preventing kindness – Edmund Marriage to the Charities Commission, and in an unpublished letter to the Times – 25 February 2006.

Text of the RSPCA Advert in the Daily Telegraph - February 2nd 2006
The badger is a protected species. Apart from the thousands the government is thinking of slaughtering obviously.
The main cause of TB in cows is cattle to cattle, not badger to cattle. So what are some farmers putting pressure on the government to do about it? That's right, slaughter thousands of badgers.
The government commissioned a trial to discover the best way to control the disease. This showed that badger culling does not necessarily reduce the overall number of infected cattle and may make matters worse. Despite this some farmers want action now.
So do we. If the unecessary killing of badgers outrages you as much as it does us. . . . .


The Government and Defra appear to be grasping the wildlife management arguments, and this was clear at the Police Against Wildlife Crime Annual Seminar, attended by Minister Jim Knight on 28 February, and within the constructive debate held at the First Bovine TB Seminar at Birmingham on the 6 March, 2006.  It was of great significance that whilst the Badger Trust engaged in the debate, the RSPCA was absent.  At this time public opinion has been heavily and unjustly influenced against culling and the farming community.  Government clearly has a duty of care to inform the public of the true position, and resolve the chaotic muddle in which we all find ourselves.

The Independent Scientific Group set up nearly eight years ago to identify science based control policies has not been well enough staffed, briefed, informed, or brave enough, to give the clear and confident advice needed by Government to address the problems. Fortunately the 450 rural veterinary surgeons, Defra staff involved in the practical issues, and the State Veterinary Service, are able to advise on control policies acceptable to the farming industry, to allow healthy cattle and badgers to coexist in our countryside.
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