Badger cull not a high priority for the public

Despite the high-profile protests against the badger cull which started in Gloucestershire and Somerset this month, a  new poll has revealed that the majority of the British public is not really bothered about the issue.

badger - stock

The YouGov survey showed that while 34 per cent of people oppose a badger cull, the remaining 66 per cent either support (29 per cent), don’t know (22 per cent) or have no strong feelings (15 per cent) about a cull.

The survey also revealed that more than a quarter of people opposed to a cull would change their mind if it meant TB did not spread to other areas of the country. Only two per cent of 1,763 people asked considered a badger cull to be one of the most important issues facing the UK at the moment.

“The findings of this survey by YouGov show that the badger cull is not a big issue for the vast majority of the British public but to the thousands of farming families living with the constant threat of TB and its devastating effects on their businesses and families, tackling this disease is the most important issue in their lives,” said NFU vice-president Adam Quinney.

“More than 38,000 cattle were compulsorily slaughtered in Great Britain in 2012 in the fight against TB and we must take action now. A cull is not about wiping out badgers. It is about reducing TB in areas where it is endemic. This will ensure this terrible disease doesn’t spread to areas of the country that are currently clear of it.

“Farmers are already playing their part in tackling TB. Robust new on-farm rules were introduced in January 2013 as part of the Government’s TB eradication plan, which aims to tackle all aspects of TB infection in the countryside. These rules followed the introduction of additional cattle controls, more pre-movement testing and increased on-farm biosecurity measures last July.

“But if we are to successfully tackle TB action has to be taken to deal with the reservoir of disease in our wildlife. Evidence from countries such as Ireland and New Zealand shows that when all fronts of the disease are tackled at the same time a significant reduction in TB can be achieved.”

Defra minister Owen Paterson said if the trial is deemed successful and safe then it will be extended.

“We will roll out 10 new cull zones next year, and 10 more in each of the three years after that,” he said.

The YouGov poll result was backed up by a separate survey for The Grocer which showed that 55 per cent of consumers accept the cull is necessary or support it as long as it is done humanely.

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Comments for: "Badger cull not a high priority for the public"


This poll was conducted for the NFU leadership (key advocates for the badger slaughter) and the convoluted question relating to the badger cull was geared towards getting the answer the NFU wanted.

The NFU question fails the Flesch Reading Ease test by a substantial amount. A poll where a large percentage of respondents can't understand the question is absolutely meaningless.

The atypically large percentage people (22%) replying "Don't know" to the NFU question supports the interpretation many respondents simply couldn't understand the question they were being asked.

Here's the question asked:

"Would you support or oppose the culling of badgers, AS PART OF A RANGE OF MEASURES [unspecified] and IN SPECIFIC INFECTED AREAS [unspecified - how many of the public knew what was meant was huge tracts of the South West of England?], IN AN ATTEMPT TO CONTROL BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS (TB)[questionable]?"

The more typical opinion survey question is:- "Do you support the badger cull?" [respondents being asked to state "yes", "no" or "don't know"].

When asked questions they can understand, the public makes their opposition to the badger cull clear - the recent "Shropshire Star" poll showed around 82% local people opposed the badger slaughter programme.

Balbuzard Pecheur

This article completely misrepresents the opinions of the vast majority of the British public who are in fact opposed to the badger cull. 249,000 people have signed the petition against the cull on the governments e petition website and

any poll I have seen has had 90% + against the cull. The government would do well to realise that opposition to the cull is massive and determined. No amount of propaganda from the government will deter the opposition from taking Direct Action to stop this diabolical assault on our most iconic British mammal.

Christopher Evans

Absolute nonsense!!! If you believe this manipulation of statistics then you are as stupid as Owen Paterson.

Wait and see who cares - You'll be in for a rude shock.


Enlighten me as to how how you can do a relative survey out of 1, 763 people when there are sixty million in the country.?


1,763 people out of 60 million. Hardly representive of the country don't you think? If YOUGOV want to be taken seriously ask a wider range of people from ALL walks of life.

Marianne Brock

You may want to mislead the general public by stating that no one really cares but the public are more intelligent than you are giving them credit for, anyone with half a brain knows there is no actual proof that Badgers spread TB, it's just an excuse for the pro hunting mob to get their jollies. Good on the activists who are totally dedicated to stopping this barbaric slaughter, there is always an amazing turn out, those who cannot take part still do their bit by donations and many of those who do donate are the general public who you have so wrongly said are disinterested.


The badger cull is a disgrace. Why are people drinking cows milk anyway. Drinking cows milk is no different than drinking dogs milk, pigs milk or even humans milk if you are not a baby. There are many plant milk substitutes that are a lot more natural for adults that the breast milk from a cow. In addition that badgers are causing TB is un-proven. Farming animals for food and dairy is one of the major causes of biodiversity loss in the world now badgers are on the hit list. How sad is it that we are doing this just to do what should only be done by babies.


Nearly 250000 people have signed the E petition to stop the Badger cull. And your survey did say 34% oppose the Badger Cull. So more people oppose than support. Why was that not your headline?

Jane Kenmure

ARE YOU FOR REAL!!!! Nearly 250,000 people have signed a government petition to stop this atrocity! All the scientific evidence shows that killing badgers will not make any meaningful reduction in bovine TB! I have just read articles about farmers being prosecuted for breaking laws on moving infected cattle which along with inaccurate skin tests allowing infected cattle to be missed is the real cause of the rising TB problem in the intensively farmed cattle. I suggest that this article is biased as was the recent vote where a triple whip ensured this joke of a government didn't lose the badger scapegoat to appease the angry farmers who deserve a REAL solution such as a licensed vaccine. I doubt you will publish my response as it is offering an alternative view to the one you want to portray, but I will publish it on social media so everyone will know that you are a biased paper if you omit this .

Val Green

Sorry but i just dont buy your statistics. almost everyone i know thinks the badger cull is a travesty and are outraged that taxpayers money is being wasted to kill badgers instead of making sure farmers get their cattle immunised and stop moving around infected cattle. the overwhelming scientific proof is against the cull.

And a survey by 'The grocer'! that'll be fair then!!

Lyndsey Maiden

The question was badly asked and the results poorly represented. Thousands of people have been out protesting against the cull. I know a local AM lost her seat as a consequence of her being pro cull... I think that's the real voice of the people. And as a couple of people have said...come on this poll was written by the people who so desperately want to denude our country of as much wildlife as possible.


Not sure who this article is trying to kid? Reluctant farmers maybe, because the public certainly doesn't want to see huge numbers of perfectly healthy badgers wiped out from the Great British countryside.