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Badger cull has cost £2,200 per animal killed, claims charity

By tobymeyjes  |  Posted: October 18, 2013

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Care for the Wild has claimed the badger cull has cost £2,200 per animal cost

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The Government has refuted claims a pilot cull of badgers has gone beyond being “morally and scientifically bankrupt” after campaigners revealed each animal has cost the taxpayer £2,200 to kill.

According to charity Care for the Wild with only 1,558 badgers killed and the bill for the cull an estimated £3.5million - it has cost the equivalent of providing a hospital bed for a week to kill each animal.

It was revealed on Thursday that a badger cull in Gloucestershire could be extended by up to eight weeks after it fell well short of its target – with just 30% of a required 70% of animals killed.

A similar cull in West Somerset received an extension of three weeks after just 59% of badgers were killed over a six week trial.

The wildlife charity, which is a supporter of the campaign group Team Badger, has pointed out the figure far outweighs the cost of vaccinating badgers in parts of Wales – around £662 per animal.

However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has rejected the figures and argued they are vastly outweighed by the hefty £1billion the disease would cost if left unchecked for the next 10 years.

Care for the Wild said the costs of policing each zone was an estimated £2million, Whitehall costs were half a million, and £1million was spent on the cull last year before it was abandoned.

Policy advisor Dominic Dyer said: “If the fact that this cull is morally and scientifically bankrupt isn’t enough, we’ve now got the fact that every badger killed so far has cost the British taxpayer around £2200.

“To put that in perspective, the cost of each dead badger could provide a hospital bed for a week.

“The number of badgers they’ve actually managed to kill is also very worrying. I don’t know how they can possibly kill enough badgers in the next three weeks in either zone to reach the total they want.

“That means scientifically the cull can’t possibly have any positive impact on bTB – and will most likely make it worse.

“They should stop now before this cull costs more lives and more taxpayers’ money for absolutely no reason.”

However, Defra argued that many of the costs of the abandoned cull in 2012 were spent on preparations which were carried over to 2013, and that the costs of policing were half those estimated by the charity.

A Defra spokesman said:“The costs of the badger cull pilots are vastly outweighed by the impact that bovine TB is having on our 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.

“We have to start tackling the disease in wildlife where the disease is widespread to get TB under control.”

Bovine TB, said to be carried by badgers, is rampant in parts of the South West, where an estimated 20,000 cattle were slaughtered last year because of the disease.

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9 comments

  • markrush  |  October 18 2013, 11:21PM

    why are the culled badgers not used for meat ?http://tinyurl.com/pzacw4v Badger stew i'm told is delicious http://tinyurl.com/2f936xo

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  • DorsetBBW  |  October 18 2013, 11:10PM

    This cull was never going to work. Concerted action against T.B is long overdue. Cattle controls will not work alone and neither will culling. Concerted action is needed which needs to be led by a scientific consensus and not by political agendas. People who want to kill badgers for their own various reasons should have no say. There is so much propaganda from both sides that no progress can be expected. I believe that the farming industry needs regain the trust of the public and to reassure them that meat and milk can be ethically produced and the countryside preserved. The public should support farmers and expect to pay a fair price. Only a rational compromise can bring a solution. I think a program of badger vaccination and further restrictions on factory farming, cattle movements and hygiene together with better prices on milk for farmers without the supermarkets taking such a cut might be a start.

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  • ChairofTBVAC  |  October 18 2013, 6:34PM

    Given that this futile badger cull has proved we DO have an army of willing volunteers to vaccinate badgers for free, with ZERO policing costs and no damage to the local community and economy, it's about time DEFRA saw sense and went with vaccination. No perturbation, no psychopathic thugs shooting indiscriminately, no terrorising of local folks kept awake night after night after night from shooting all around them every night for weeks on end, no war of neighbour against neighbour, no damage to our wildlife. It's the only thing that could possibly repair their credibility.

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  • ChairofTBVAC  |  October 18 2013, 6:34PM

    Given that this futile badger cull has proved we DO have an army of willing volunteers to vaccinate badgers for free, with ZERO policing costs and no damage to the local community and economy, it's about time DEFRA saw sense and went with vaccination. No perturbation, no psychopathic thugs shooting indiscriminately, no terrorising of local folks kept awake night after night after night from shooting all around them every night for weeks on end, no war of neighbour against neighbour, no damage to our wildlife. It's the only thing that could possibly repair their credibility.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 18 2013, 1:05PM

    Apart from obviously clinically sick badger, you can ONLY detect M.bovis at a full post mortem with bacteriological cultue. This is why the badger vaccination plan with this POM-V BCG is strictly ILLEGAL. The prevalence and distribution of Mycobacterium bovis infection in European badgers (Meles meles) as determined by enhanced post mortem examination and bacteriological culture. School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, College of Life Sciences, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. denise.murphy@ucd.ie Authors: Murphy D, Gormley E, Costello E, O'Meara D, Corner LA The accurate diagnosis of Mycobacterium bovis infection in badgers is key to understanding the epidemiology of tuberculosis in this species and has significant implications for devising strategies to limit spread of the disease. In this study, badgers (n=215) in the Republic of Ireland were examined at post mortem and tissues were collected from a range of anatomical locations and pooled into groups for bacterial culture of M. bovis. By assessing confirmed gross visible lesions (VL) alone, infection was detected in 12.1% of badgers. However, by including the results of all culture positive pooled samples, the overall infection prevalence increased significantly to 36.3%. Two-thirds (66.7%) of infected animals had no visible lesions (NVL). While the thoracic cavity (lungs and pulmonary lymph nodes) was found to be the most common site of infection, in a proportion of animals infection was absent from the lungs and draining lymph nodes and was confined to the lymph nodes of the carcase or the head. This may indicate an early extrapulmonary dissemination of infection or alternatively, in the case of the head lymph nodes, a secondary pathogenic pathway involving the lymphoid tissues of the upper respiratory tract (URT). http://tinyurl.com/axrhms5

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  • groundnut  |  October 18 2013, 12:59PM

    I picked this up in the Guardian newspaper this am -- any truth lying within perhaps ?? Cameron and co are keen to wipe out the badger population entirely, because they want Tb free cattle in order to export meat to China. They will also doubtless encourage the live export of cattle to China, the country with arguably the worst animal welfare record in the world, but this will be of no concern to this depraved Countryside Alliance government. 9 week old bull calves are currently still being sent to Europe and further afield across land and sea in all weathers on journeys in excess of 60 hours in stinking transporters, and Cameron has already negotiated the live export of pigs to China.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 18 2013, 12:58PM

    So name calling is now all you have left. Badgers and bovine TB. The indisputable, historic, scientific facts. http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy

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  • groundnut  |  October 18 2013, 12:40PM

    I have no doubt that both DEFRA and the NFU would wish to dispute the facts. But I ask how many INFECTED badgers have been killed. "The present killing exercise is non science based flawed thinking. Designed by Owen Paterson in conjunction with and to appease the NFU. But it has failed, it has proved very expensive , and unsustainable. It is indiscriminately killing healthy badgers, ( some 85% plus of Badgers are not infected)and others like cattle may test positive but would not develop TB. No testing is being carried out to add to any scientific data on TB. With a view to advancing a science based solution towards the eradication of TB in both cattle and wildlife. In addition we now have OP and defra being tasked to finding a gassing agent. More money being spent , towards another indiscriminate solution of killing healthy wildlife. Because it will not stop at badgers. Everyone including the protest groups wants a humane science based solution towards the eradication of TB in cattle and wildlife. But as the farmers have an interest in their cattle, so the protest groups have an interest in cattle and wildlife. Do not dismiss these protest groups as OP does as the minority. Owen Paterson by his mis information and secrecy has kept spin on his side. But costs and gas and other flaws in what is actually taking place, are now reaching the Public domain in a steady flow. This political exercise, flawed and expensive as it is and bypassing science , will not move a long term solution to TB any further forward. Farmers you drive your GPS controlled Combines and seed drills , so you seem to embrace science and technology. You need to ditch the OP/ NFU politics . Stop wasting millions ( and it is that now) on flawed gun law , killing healthy wildlife. And seek a science based solution. But the Present OP and NFU thinking will not be up to it."

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  • PixyHarris  |  October 18 2013, 12:21PM

    Paterson is a fool, persisting in what almost every scientist considers a grave error - grave for the farming industry, the tax payers and those treasure our wildlife and resent the badger being used as a scapegoat for errors by farmers and the Coalition government.

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