From 2013 to 2023, 210,555 badgers, up to half of Britain’s estimated population, have been culled in an attempt to eradicate bovineTb. In 2022 alone 33,627 badgers were killed, 87% of which were free shot, a most inhumane method of killing any animal, yet alone a protected species. 

Badgers are not the problem

Bovine TB is always present in the environment and can affect or be carried harmlessly by many species – livestock and wildlife alike. Yet the government has focused on badgers, even though 94% of cattle infections are from cow to cow. Many in the farming community wrongly believe that badgers are a significant vector in the spread of the disease. For many years, independent scientists, vets, researchers, as well as Badger Trust, have rightly challenged this claim.

The science behind the driving cause of the epidemic that is bTB in cattle includes a recent study on this badger vs cow debate, published in Vet Record in March 2022.  The robust, and comprehensive analyses of DEFRA’s own data conducted by independent scientists, show clearly that there is no evidence that badger culling has had any impact on reducing bTB in cattle. By comparing cull and non-cull areas the study showed that any reduction in bTB in cattle was likely a result of cattle measures.  Further analysis of ten county areas considered high-risk areas for bTB shows that in 9 out of 10 of these counties, bTB in cattle peaked and then began to fall before the government ever implemented a badger cull.

The government’s bovine TB strategy should focus more on cattle and less on badgers 

The biggest risk factors for any cattle herd are poorly regulated cattle movement, poor biosecurity, and an outdated, unreliable testing regime. Yet the government has been reluctant to use the most effective methods to take the steps needed to stop bTB.

And although a cattle vaccination is the most effective, fastest and long term solution to the bTB problem, there is still no approved cattle vaccine licensed for use. Badger Trust has been calling for significant investment in cattle vaccination for over 10 years, and the delay has been paid for in badger’s lives. The Animal & Plant Health Authority (APHA), an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), announced in July 2021 that it is only now field-testing a cattle vaccine, which ‘could be deployed in 2025’.

The badger cull isn’t coming to an end any time soon

The current badger cull in England was a commitment in the Conservative party election manifesto in 2010, and has been underway since 2013, killing over 176,000 badgers to end a cattle disease problem. Despite what the government says, the badger cull isn’t coming to an end any time soon. The badger cull is set to run to at least 2025 and, with supplementary cull licences, could continue for some years after that. The Government confirmed its bTB eradication policy plans in May 2021 and the reality makes hard reading.

What can you do?

  • Write to your MP, in your own words with your full name and address so that they are obliged to reply. Remind them that the published science and evidence is strongly anti-cull. Dr Ian McGill, Director of Sussex based Prion Group comments: “Every month new data emerges showing that badger culling has made no difference to levels of bovine tuberculosis in cattle. How long will it be before government wakes up and does the right thing – stop badger culling for good and bring in effective cattle measures?”
  • Ask your local radio to speak against the cull.
  • Support your local badger and wildlife protection groups
  • Find out more and get up to date information from Badgers Trust

The WKBG wants to be prepared for the dreadful possibility of the cull coming to Kent. To help us prepare for this, we have undertaken a Sett Survey Project to log where our badgers are located across West Kent. If you would like to take part or to know more, contact us on