Badger Campaign

Last updated: December 2017



Badger Campaign


In September 2017 the UK badger cull was expanded to 21 killing zones. Leading the Guardian to estimate that up to 33,500 badgers will be shot. The government has granted new licences in established cull zones but also expanded its program into Cheshire. The government continue to insist that badger culling is key to its strategy to eradicate TB in cattle.

Brian May leads anti-badger-cull protest in Bristol.



Background to the cull


After a UK epidemic of bovine (cattle) TB in the 1930s, it was brought under control by cattle-based measures, until the last decades of the 20th century when it began to increase again.

According to the Badger Trust, “the increase followed a marked relaxation of cattle testing, slaughter and movement controls [and] coincided with the intensification of dairy farms.” On the other hand, farming organisations, notably the NFU, blamed badgers.

In the 1990s the Government commissioned a nearly 10-year, taxpayer-funded study including a Randomised Badger Culling Trial. The final report in 2007 concluded that ‘badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain,’ and recommended cattle-based measures alone.

The Coalition Government launched a four-year trial of badger culling in 2013 in an attempt to halt the spread of TB in cattle. Despite a report from the Government’s own Independent Panel of Experts concluding that the 2013 cull was both cruel and ineffective, it was repeated in 2014.


Image: Badger


On 28th August 2015 the government announced that Natural England had authorised the cull to start again in Gloucestershire and Somerset, and also to begin in Dorset. This is despite widespread resistance from scientists, Wildlife Trusts and the general public.

The government further expanded the cull in 2016, granting licences in parts of Herefordshire, Cornwall and Devon. This move saw a dramatic increase in the number of badgers culled in the UK, with the number jumping from 1,467 in 2015 to 10,886 in 2016.

The pilot badger culls in England are considered highly controversial for a number of reasons including their effectiveness, cost, impacts on local communities, animal rights concerns and politicised nature.

Like millions of others we believe that the badger cull will not stop the spread of bovine TB in cattle.

Independent scientific studies have shown that culling would be of little help in reducing bovine TB, and even suggest that it could make things worse in some areas.

Instead the cull will have a dire impact on British wildlife with over 70% of the badger population in large areas of the country being wiped out.



Anti-cull campaigning


Opposition in the field was immediate. With the experience gained by existing groups in the last three years, and the new Badger Action Network resource website this May, groups in new cull areas were helped to set up. Ethical Consumer also continued to run our Badger Action News website, tracking campaigns and summarising news on the cull.


Badger Action News


  • Protest                               
  • Boycott
  • Lobby                                           
  • Petition
  • Donate


Visit Badger Action News >



Tweet your support for the campaign to stop the badger cull




Team Badger


Ethical Consumer is also part of Team Badger to help stop the cull of badgers in England.

We at Team Badger question:

  • the humaneness of shooting badgers
  • the monitoring of the cull and how this will ensure that the target of killing at least 70% of the badger population to reduce the disease is met but, at the same time, ensure that the culls are not detrimental to the survival of the populations of badgers
  • how long-term lessons can be gained from the pilots. The government seems intent on rolling out the policy in up to ten additional areas despite any effect on the disease taking some years to be established.



Dairy-free alternatives

There is a strong link between the badger cull and the dairy industry. In the past many campaign groups have called for consumers to boycott certain dairy products produced in cull zones. If you are interested take a look at our product guide to dairy-free alternatives to milk.


Our best buy Non-Diary milk brands are:

  • Plamil
  • The Bridge
  • Good Hemp
  • Ecomil
  • Oatly
  • Sunrise organic


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Badger Campaign