Badger cull has begun
New research confirms many cull zone participants not even farming cattle
Despite widespread opposition from both scientists and the general public, the badger cull in England began again for its third year on September 3rd.
A wide range of campaign responses including petitions, protests and boycotts have also begun in order to make the project's progress more difficult. This year, Ethical Consumer's Badger Action News website is listing all the possible options to help support the protests.
In addition, Ethical Consumer has begun to publish some research into the background behind the cull in order to try to understand and therefore oppose it more effectively.
Land use mapping
We commissioned some land use mapping within what are believed to be the cull zones, which confirms earlier reports that much of the land within the zones is not being used for dairy farming and therefore presumably not suffering from TB problems with cattle.
Our key findings were:
- In the Gloucester cull zone only 47% of the land appears to be used for grazing, not all of which may be cattle. If 70% of the available area inside each zone must be signed up to permit culling to take place, this would seem to suggest that a substantial amount of land signed up to the cull in Gloucestershire is not grazing land.
- In Somerset only 56% of the land within the cull zone was used for grazing, not all of which may be cattle. This would indicate a similar level of non-dairy farmer involvement in permitting the cull to go ahead.
We conclude that “the cull must have substantial support from non-dairy farmers within these zones for the '70% of available land' requirement to be met.”
“Key to support appear to be hereditary landowners with large shooting estates. A project that involves shooting iconic wildlife rather than watching it or vaccinating it makes no sense to biological scientists looking at eradicating bTB. But to social scientists looking to understand why shooting has been chosen despite the evidence of formal government studies, a partial explanation beings to emerge.”
See our land use mapping of the cull zones >
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