What is supplementary badger culling

You might have heard the term, but are asking yourself ‘what is supplementary badger culling?’

A supplementary badger cull licence is a five-year licence issued to cull zones that have reached the end of their initial four-year period.  This means that any cull zone could run for nine years.

As of 2018, these licences apply only to the original ‘pilot’ zones of West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.

We expect West Dorset that reached the end of its four-year licence this year, will get a supplementary culling licence in 2019.

However, disturbing or blocking setts remains a criminal offence and only licenced cull operatives can kill badgers by one of two methods.

  • free-shooting
  • cage trapping and shooting

In 2018-19, the target number of badgers in the West Somerset zone is a minimum of 109 and a maximum of 578.

When do supplementary badger cull licences run?

Free shooting of badgers by licenced cull operatives is permissible from 1 June 2018 to 31 January 2019. 

Cage-trapping and shooting can run from 1 June 2018 to 30 November 2018.

In 2017-18, Defra refused to publish the number of badgers killed in these zones, despite Freedom of Information requests, until July 2018 when Defra announced the 91 badgers killed in West Somerset last year was way short of the minimum target.  In 2017-18, this was 140 minimum and 610 maximum.

The reason for the shortfall, according to Defra, is that there had been “a steep drop in badger activity in the west zone.

After such a bad spring this year with high cub mortality already recorded, one has to wonder how Natural England could set a minimum kill figure of 109 badgers this year, let alone setting a maximum target of 578.

Questions for our MPs, perhaps?  Letters to our local papers?

The more people that get involved in asking these questions, the better.

Compliance monitoring of the supplementary culls is limited or non-existent.  So it’s vital that more local people get to know and look after setts in their neighbourhood.

If you care about badgers, get in touch with us and get started now.