Shropshire protesters call to 'can the cull' on badgers as 7,896 killed in county since 2013

A Shropshire action group has called on the Government to put an end to badger culling, as fears rise over local extinction of the species.

Protesters against badger culling gather at a 'Welcome to Shropshire' sign
Protesters against badger culling gather at a 'Welcome to Shropshire' sign

Members of the Shropshire Badger Group, based in Ellesmere, took to the Shropshire border to protest against the culling of badgers in Britain.

This year marks the tenth year of the badger cull in England, which began in 2013 in an attempt to control Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.

Since then, more than 176,000 badgers have been killed nationally under what campaigners label a 'vicious campaign of eradication' for the mammals who are 'vilified as vectors' of bTB.

According to animal welfare charity Badger Trust, badgers are not the problem – Bovine TB is always present in the environment and can affect or be carried harmlessly by many species.

Despite 94 per cent of cattle infections being from cow to cow, the charity says, the Government has focused on badgers.

And over the years, independent scientists, vets, researchers and the Badger Trust, have been challenging this.

A badger

Under the cull licences, badgers will either be cage trapped and then shot, or ‘controlled shooting’ will be allowed on free running badgers.

Since 2013, some 1,683 badgers in Shropshire have been killed through cage trapping and 6,213 from 'controlled shooting', resulting in 7,896 deaths county-wide.

Jim Ashley, Chairman of Shropshire Badger Group said: "In 2021, the proportion shot while free running rather than the more humane cage and trap method, hit a record of nearly 9 out of 10, despite calls to stop this inhumane method that can leave injured badgers to die slow painful deaths.

"Free shooting is condemned by the British Veterinary Association.

"Government officials state that culling is carried out humanely, despite monitoring only 0.255 per cent of badgers shot – 83 out of the 33,687 badgers shot in 2021– and none were sent for post mortem.

"Again, we see that the Government is ignoring the advice of expert knowledge in a pursuit to continue its unethical campaign against Britain's last remaining large carnivore.

"The number of badgers licensed to be shot again this autumn in Shropshire, coupled with the dire consequences of a prolonged drought could well lead to local extinction of the species in many areas.’

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