Badger cull cost £7.3m, claims wildlife charity

First published in News

A WILDLIFE charity is claiming that the “disastrous” badger cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset cost £7.3 million – meaning it cost £4,121 for each badger killed.

Care for the Wild said it has used freedom of information requests and official sources to gather the data, and believes police costs were £2.6million, farmers’ costs were £1.49million and the cost to the Government was £3.2million.

The Government’s controversial pilot culls aimed to kill 70 per cent of the badger population to test how effective, humane and safe a cull could be.

Along with the National Farmers' Union, it believes culling badgers will curb bovine TB in cattle but opponents disagree with this.

Around 1,771 nbadgers were killed, with the cull in the northern part of Gloucestershire called off early as it did not meet targets.

Care for the Wild’s policy advisor Dominic Dyer said the Government had delivered one of the most disastrous and expensive wildlife culls in history.

“It has wasted millions of pounds on a badger cull which has no scientific, animal welfare or economic justification, and which was carried out in an outrageously sloppy manner which would be laughable if it hadn’t cost so many badgers’ lives,” he said.

“All of this has been done to the sound of scientists almost universally saying that culling simply won’t have any significant impact on the disease, and to the statistics that say there’s been a 10 per cent reduction in the number of cattle slaughtered this year, prior to the culls, due to better cattle management alone.”

The charity is calling for a radical overhaul in farming practices to eradicate bovine TB.

A DEFRA spokesperson said the costs of the pilot cull was vastly outweighed by the impact bovine TB is having on the farming industry and taxpayers.

“Each bovine TB cattle outbreak costs an average £34,000, and if left unchecked this disease will cost the taxpayer £1billion over the next 10 years.”

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