POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped?

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Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ pounds have been spent on equipping marksmen with radios that link them directly to police, the Guardian has learned.

Police have advised the government to invest in the same communications system they use to make it easier for officers to get to conflicts with cull saboteurs in remote areas where the mobile phone signal is poor.

However, anti-cull activists plan to turn the tables on the marksmen by investing in devices that trace the signals produced by the radios, meaning they can pinpoint their position and disrupt .

Another hi-tech tactic protesters are planning to use is deploying infra-red night vision on drones to hunt for marksmen and badgers caught in traps.

The government is expected to announce imminently that the cull will be expanded into new areas this autumn.

Anti-cull activists plan to turn the tables on cull marksmen. Photograph: Alamy

Almost 15,000 badgers have been killed since the first culling took place in Gloucestershire and Somerset in 2013. This year, protesters believe the cull will extend east to Wiltshire and north to Cheshire and a further 20,000 badgers killed.

Since the cull began, there has been tension between police and protesters over whether officers help keep shooters a step ahead of activists. The police insist they do not take sides but treat both even-handedly.

However, figures published by the government have revealed that in 2016 and this year the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) paid almost £500,000 to Airwave, the company that provides the police and other emergency services with communications equipment.

Defra confirmed the equipment was provided to those taking part in cull operations. A spokesperson said: “We take the safety of the public and those undertaking badger control operations very seriously. That is why, on the advice of local police forces, radio equipment has been hired by Defra for licence holders to provide a reliable means of communication should any incident arise.”

Airwave equipment is considered by police to be the most effective network because mobile reception can be unreliable in the sort of remote areas where much of the culling takes place.

Protest against badger culling and in central London this month. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Jay Tiernan, of Stop the Cull, whose members take direct action against the cull, said it would invest in detectors that pick up Airwave signals. This would allow protesters to pinpoint marksmen and disrupt them.

“It’s going to lead to many late night chases across cull zones and safety will be a major issue now that police forces are so badly stretched in many areas.”

In another development, Natural England, the government’s conservation watchdog, has blocked the release of data showing the impact of the badger cull on other species.

Evidence from previous culls has shown that fox populations increase when badgers are culled, which could reduce the numbers of rare ground-nesting birds.

After a three-year battle, the Information Commissioner’s Office last month ordered Natural England to provide the analysis, but the conservation body has appealed against the ruling, preventing the information from being made public before the new round of culling.

Natural England claims the data will enable activists to better identify the cull zones and potentially harass the marksmen and farmers conducting the cull.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 25 Aug 2017.

We invite you to share your opinion whether the of badgers in the UK should be finally stopped? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped?

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Editorial Comment: The purpose of this poll is to highlight important wildlife conservation issues and to encourage discussion on ways to stop . By leaving a comment and sharing this post you can help to raise awareness. Thank you for your support.


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Alan Petrie

4 years of pilot culls. IEP declares them inhumane and ineffective. BVA condemns free shooting as inhumane. No evidence of any reduction in Bovine TB in cull zones. £millions of taxpayers money wasted on police costs alone. And what do this insane government do but expand the cull and issue supplementary licences in pilot areas. Where is the logic, where is the benefit to farmers or taxpayers. Just stop the madness NOW

Trina Moore

Badgers are such beautiful creatures and should not be killed because of TB. The government should spend more money on vaccinations and farmers should take better care of spreading this disease.

Emma Andrews
Emma Andrews

Yes, definitely, without a doubt whatsoever!

Chris Barnes
Chris Barnes

No, without any doubt

Chris Barnes
Chris Barnes

No definately NOT!

Ann Waters

Corrupt interpretation of scientific evidence allows this gungho slaughter to continue. Taxpayers’ money is thrown at sadists and opportunists.

Emma Thomas

Stop the badger cull!!!

Alison Kynnersley Giles

We need to stop the killing of all badgers we should protect all our beautiful wildlife or badgers should be protected not killed, stop the killing

Tony Bennion
Tony Bennion

Never should have started and certainly must be ended!..Who the hell do we think we are?The christian assertion that the Earth and everything on it is for our benefit only?How self centred is that?Homo sapiens needs renaming to Homo stultus!

Deb Jones-phillips

The cull is definitely not based on scientific evidence. It is more likely TB is spread by poor farming practice and by hunt hounds,which are not under control in any hunt, trapsing it accross from farm to farm. There are cases of TB in hunt hounds. I have not heard of anywhere where the cull is, of badgers carrying it. This is another mass slaughter of Badgers for no reason. There should be stiffer hygeine by farms, and checks to make sure. There also needs to be ready scientific evidence for this cull. My own MP stated he had no… Read more »


There is no proven link with badgers and TB this ridiculous slaughtering of beautiful wildlife should be outlawed

Pépéloup Gégé



Yes the culling should be stopped immediately – these people who want to kill living animals are evil – there is no valid excuse for this killing – It needs to stop and the ones behind the culling need to be kicked out of their jobs – why are they for the culling? To kill – period – The mindset of these people who think killing is a sport needs to be changed – they need to stop and think of what they are doing and asking themselves – why?

Suzanne Parry

Yes it should. Definitely as all other hunting should be too

Connie Wessel


Linda Badham
Linda Badham

shocking despicable ignorant humans !

Christine Link


Alison Moanique

why do you think badgers ought to be slaughtered in the UK?

Sofie L. Forsberg

Voted yes and tweeted.

Arlene Labbe

Rhetorical question, of course!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

we meddle in the order of things and then we stuck repairing the damage we seem to always do…and that repair involves killing of innocents???

for a species that considers itself superior and intelligent, the above mentioned actons lean more to inferior and stupid!!!!

wise up humans!!!

Hilary Morrison

Why do continue to ask such stupid questions when you already know the answer, ££££ I expect.

Adrian Fox

Living in France where badger digging with terriers is still legal, ghastly for both dogs and the badgers, and where they are hunted nearly to extinction, at least the numbers in the UK remain vibrant. We have been here for nearly 15 years and yet I have never seen a living badger in all that time, only the very few dead ones by the roadside. The cull has been comprehensively shown to be ineffectual and unlikely to make the slightest difference to levels of bovine TB, apart from maybe in the very short term. A different strategy is needed.

Wally Mcdonald

Stupid question

Chris Curran

The original plan was to continue the cull throughout England for 25 years. I wonder if that still stands. Surely when Labour are in government the cull will be stopped. We must make sure the Tories are thrown out at the next election. That way we should get the cull stopped plus have the hunting Act tightened up.

Michele Jankelow

What and why is it that animals are always the victims of human hysteria? Absolutely this must end as evidence re TB onto cattle is still non conclusive. Really appalling management from the government! That a first world country can and does behave like this is nothing short of barbaric and atrocious!

Yvonne Olausson