Last Updated on 22 October 2020 by Badger
Appalled by the badger cull?
We have some simple ways to help badgers
Choose a circular route that you’re familiar with and walk it regularly. Better still, discover new areas to walk and ring the changes.
Use any walk or shopping trip to distribute flyers and business cards to alert everyone that culling operations are taking place all over the country. Punch two holes in the business card and use string to tie it to a stile or kissing gate EVERYWHERE you go.
Each individual can also keep their eyes on their neighbourhood. You can create your own individual patrol.. Download What3Words or a Grid Ref app (set this to 10 digits if possible). Both are free and you need to know exactly where you are if you see something you have to report.
Keep your eyes open. Are there unusual vehicles about?
If you hear shooting at night where you never have before, ring 101 and report the activity. Since we don’t know which farms are taking part, we can only assume it’s someone shooting a badger without a licence. Or maybe it’s a person trespassing on non-participating land.
If you encounter a culling operation, ring the police on 999 if you feel in immediate danger or 101 if not. Say you’re in a badger cull zone.
Afterwards, send us a note what you witnessed, where you were and the police response was. This will help us to monitor what’s going on across the county.
Do you see badger latrines? Are they suddenly full of peanuts? Take a picture and a (ideally 10 digit) grid reference and get in touch with us. Email if it’s not urgent; ring us if it is.
Tip off number: 07393 897 715
Simple ways to help badgers from the comfort of your home
Write to your local farmers
Be courteous. Be kind. There are non-participating landowners that are keeping their heads down having faced considerable pressure to sign up. They are heroes and, if you’re lucky, one of them might live in your neighbourhood. You don’t want to add to their pressure by writing them an angry letter.
Anyone with land can sign up to the cull. Those with pony paddocks, sheep farmers or vegetable growers are a few examples.
Because cull companies need a minimum amount of land before Natural England can give them a licence, the local organisers for ‘their’ cull company may have tried to get all landowners to sign up so the amount of land in their ‘portfolio’ increases.
You can write a short, factual letter using evidenced-based information from scientists that shows culling badgers is not evidence based. Spend a few minutes looking through our news archive or use information provided by the Wildlife Trusts.
This letter published on 2nd September 2020 from leading independent scientists contains much relevant information so spread the word and use it well.
Warn them it is not the ‘golden ticket’ the NFU has promised them. Many farmers only trust their own community of other farmers or their vet, and so rural mythologies abound. Check out Somerset Badger Group’s information for farmers.
Tell them how much badgers mean to you and your family. And what will be lost. Every Licence is set to run four years followed by five years of supplementary culling. Experience from the original West Somerset zone shows that after eight years of this, very few badgers survive and those that do are wary and rarely seen.
So far, the total number of badgers killed is over 25% of their population. And it may be much more since a significant percentage may be shot, run off and die, without being retrieved by the cull operative. Read Rosie Woodroffe’s article ‘How many badgers do culls really kill?‘
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is desperate to keep details of the cull secret including start dates, boundaries, and which farms are culling. So follow their lead, there’s no need to make your position known in your community.
It’s important to write a polite, non-threatening letter. If you don’t know their postal address, Yell.com is helpful. Just type in ‘farmers’ into the search engine and your nearest town.
Simple ways to help badgers when shopping
Break your British reserve and ask before you buy or book anything
Write to your local farm shop or food shop (or choose shops in cull zones whose products sell round the country)
Consumer power can change the world. Certified wildlife-friendly products are increasingly available worldwide so this country should have badger-friendly products available. Who knows? Such a choice might be the reason the NFU is keen to keep the identities of farms culling badgers secret.
Organic farms can cull badgers. RSPCA-assured farms can cull badgers. The only way to guarantee what you buy is ‘badger-friendly is to ask. So ask by letter or in person. A quick telephone call does more than you can imagine.
If you eat dairy or meat, ask. If you eat vegetables ask. Ask before you eat in the local farm café.
Before you book a bed & breakfast, a campsite, a wedding venue, local flowers, ask whether the owner is badger-friendly and gauge their reply carefully. Many of us don’t want to use our cash to support those killing badgers.
Just ask. By telephone or in person.
Write to your local Parish Council and District Council
Ask them if they’re aware of culling activities in your parish. Somerset Against the Badger Cull has written to over 200 parish councils in the new zones advising the Clerk to pass on the news that the badger cull has arrived in their parish to the councillors. Read our letter.
Some of the councillors may be farmers and be participating in the cull. Some will not. Even if the Council don’t reply, it raises awareness within the local community that the badger cull is on their doorstep. Some councillors will be as concerned as us.
To bolster your letter, it’s worth mentioning that the UK is a signatory to the Aarhus Convention that establishes a number or rights including “the right of everyone to receive environmental information that is held by public authorities”
To avoid the claim that secrecy is needed to ensure the safety of participants, it’s important to note that a decision made by Judge Angel at a hearing brought before the Information Commission in 2015 states that
“increased protesting in the cull areas (or better directed protesting) is perfectly legitimate in a democratic society. We must guard against impermissibly mingling criticism of unlawful activity with criticism of legitimate protest.”
Better directed protesting is knowing who to write to. It’s not as effective to write to non-participating landowners as it is to those who have chosen to take part.
Write to your MP
Most of us will have Tory MPs who are toeing the party political line and agree that badger culling is a necessary evil. However, disquiet about culling badgers has remained consistently high. And that counts. So keep it on the agenda. You can find your MP’s details here.
This year’s expansion of the badger cull is horrific. Never has a native species been the focus of a Government policy that will lead to local extinctions throughout its European heartland since the extirpation of the grey wolf in North America and Mexico in the 19th century.
Ask questions, don’t give facts.
Ask why the policy to phase out intensive badger culling and replace it with badger vaccination, launched with much fanfare in March 2020 hasn’t been implemented.
Ask when it will be implemented.
Ask how many badgers survive in the original cull zones of West Somerset and Gloucestershire.
Ask why free-shooting has become the most used method of killing badgers when their own Independent Expert Panel denounced it as inhumane. And the British Veterinary Association withdrew its support in May 2015.
Every question they can’t answer has to be referred to an ‘expert’ in Defra or Natural England. Think outside the box and ask tricky questions. This costs time and money, but MPs and Government must be accountable.
Get informed or better informed
Try to stay up to date. Spend a few minutes looking at our website which carries much useful information.
Mainstream media has lost some interest in the badger cull but there’s so much to be found with a quick ‘Google’.
Be sure to find credible sources.