Badger Cruelty On The Rise With Controversial UK Cull To Come

Badger cruelty is on the rise in the United Kingdom, according to a report yesterday from the BBC. The numbers were revealed during a debate in parliament, where an opponent of the badger killing also spoke out against the legal cull of badgers scheduled for later this year in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

A member of parliament, Diane Abbott, said that there has been a rise in cruelty and killing of wild badgers, rising from 30 prosecutions in 2007 to a record 58 in 2011. “[T]there are gangs of people, sometimes with dogs, who think this is a macho thing to do,” she said of the unauthorized badger slaughter.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, there were protests last fall against the proposed legal cull of badgers in the UK. Although the iconic animals are normally a protected species under British law, agricultural authorities had proposed killing some of the population to control a form of tuberculosis that is running epidemic in badgers and also potentially threatening the cattle industry.

The badger cull was ultimately delayed for several months, but environmental secretary Owen Paterson confirmed at a recent National Farmer’s Union that agriculture authorities are now moving ahead with the plan. Paterson said that the cost of bovine TB had already cost £500 million in the last decade and that the figure could grow to to £1 billion if the infected badgers are not removed.

The badger cull starts on June 1 and will be repeated each summer for four years.

Some people say that the cull itself is badger cruelty, since the animals will be shot, rather than trapped in a cage and euthanized.

In addition, anti-cull protestors say that they have evidence that the badger cull won’t work. In March, the Irish Wildlife Trust released a statement claiming that €3.4 million had been spent just to protect 55 head of cattle.

They, like other people arguing against the badger cull, believe that the development of a vaccine for cattle — and for the badgers — is what will ultimately solve the problem.

On both sides, if anyone observes an illegal killing or any other act of badger cruelty, they’re asked to report it to the police.

badger at UK wildlife center

[Laura and badger Honey photo by Peter Trimming via Wikipedia Commons]

[Cornwall, UK badger eating photo by “Prosthetic Head” via Wikipedia Commons]