Badger cull cost over £3,000 for each animal killed

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The first of two controversial culls in England cost £3,350 for every badger killed.

Official figures show that the pilots cost the taxpayer £6.3m in their first year, during which 1,879 badgers were killed in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

The Government said the costs were high due to monitoring of the humaneness and efficacy of the culls, with £2.6m spent on humaneness monitoring, including post-mortem examinations, while £2.3m was spent on assessing efficacy.

Anti-cull campaigners said the figures did not include the costs of policing, which they said were £3.5m – bringing the total cost per badger to more than £5,200.

Dominic Dyer, of the Badger Trust said: “If every badger killed last year cost the taxpayer £3,000, that would be a horrendous waste of money on a policy that leading scientists say won’t work. But the reality is that every badger killed actually cost £5,200 – and that is simply beyond belief.”

European badgers, Meles meles England’s cost £3,350 per animal in the first year – Photograph: Michael Breuer/Alamy

An independent expert panel concluded that “controlled shooting” of free-running badgers was not effective or humane, and wildlife campaigners have raised concerns that monitoring by the panel has not resumed for the second year of the cull.

Ministers and farmers insist culling is necessary to address tuberculosis in livestock, which can catch the disease from badgers.

But opponents say badger-culling is inhumane and ineffective, and alternatives such as vaccination should be pursued.

The Government said every outbreak of TB costs £34,000, of which £20,000 is borne by the taxpayer, with more than 26,000 cattle slaughtered in England last year.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “The cost of the badger culls needs to be seen in the context of the devastating scale of the threat bovine TB poses to our farming industry and food security – £500 million over the last decade. Doing nothing is not an option.

“We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy, including tighter cattle movement controls, badger vaccination and culling. Many of the costs associated with the pilot culls last year were one-offs and have not been repeated this year.”

This article was first published by The Guardian on 14 Nov 2014.

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Susan Lee

Between this monumental stupidity plus the poachings of the raptors you guys seem to be doing all you can to increase your wild rat population by destroying the rat's predators. So congratulations on the plagues you also seem to want from those Very Much LESS predator-controlled rats.

Kate Dougherty
Kate Dougherty

Waste of money to sooth the illogical hysteria of the farmers. Seems all government bodies have not only lost their integrity and ethics, but their balls to say 'no'.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark

Now this is a perfect example where if the PC people would get out of the way and let trappers do there thing. The trappers would spend there own money to go trap them because then they could sell the skins and make there money back. The uk has lost just about all there outdoorsman.

This also highlights a bigger problem when you remove top line predators from a system this type of thing can happen.

Fiona Haddon

Such a waste of money, this could have been spend on the NHS. Killing Badgers…makes me sad to be part of the human race…..

Terence Hale

The costs are far more. If a suspected animal is culled for having an infectious disease the cost of the correct disposable of the carcass are high. The people most probably eat them.