Environment Magazine

Badger Cull Cost the Cops Over $4 Mill

Posted on the 15 January 2014 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal

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from Earth First! Newswire

Well, the notorious badger cull ended on December 18 as an epic failure, and things keep getting worse for environment secretary Owen Paterson. According to figures released earlier today, policing the cull in Gloucestershire and Sumerset cost the police nearly £2.5 million (over $4 million), twice the originally projected amount.

That’s  £1,300 per badger.

According to one animal group, the cost of the entire cull was £7.3 million, with taxpayers paying £5.8 million of the total.

Paterson organized the cull with the initial intention of killing 60 percent of all badgers in the UK with the intention of reducing the threat of TB in cattle. Pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Sumerset county were initiated to test out whether or not a countrywide cull would be effective.

As it happens, activists around the area banded together and smashed the cull, playing cat and mouse with hunters, breaking traps, and disrupting the attacks. By the time the cull was called off, the shooters had achieved only 30 percent of their target.

During the nights of struggle, Gloucestershire Police arrested 38 people, mostly during an eight-week extension period granted to compensate for the incredibly low numbers. On some nights, thanks to the activists who put their lives on the line, no kills were allowed at all.

But Paterson kept up the good fight, telling Parliament that “…some of the animals we have shot have been desperately sick-in the final stages of disease…” He was really out to save nature and the animals from themselves.

Executive director of Humane Society International, Mark Jones, responded, “As a vet I find Mr Paterson’s claim that badgers shot in the pilot culls were ‘desperately sick’ highly suspicious. I know of no evidence to back this up, indeed all the available data suggests that even where bovine TB is rife among cattle, only a tiny proportion of badgers will be suffering any symptoms of the disease.”

The result of the cull has become a nationwide scandal, with the Liberal Democrats calling for an end to the program.

On the plus side, even if Paterson looks silly being caught in a lie, in the estimation of one activist, his failure to cull the badgers “brought together such a diversity of people together for the sake of the badgers. There has been good co-operation and acceptance of different tactics with those going on legal night patrols on footpaths working alongside those directly sabotaging the shooters with noise and torches. Meanwhile, the Badger Trust have been fighting the cull in court and the likes of Brian May have been doing the media bit. There have been lively pro badger marches in towns all round the country. Hunt saboteurs have reported an increase in support since sabotaging the cull. Those sorts of alliances and radicalising of the animal loving middle england could be a bit of an own goal for the shooting lobby.”

 


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