Latest figures show that 38,642 badger deaths were recorded by the Government as part of its ongoing badger eradication campaign. This brings the total to over 140,000 since 2013, with a further 60,000 plus expected in the next two years.
So, the removal of badgers from huge areas of the UK to prop up the dairy industry continues apace. Rather than a temporary slaughter to control BovineTb (a cattle disease) as the government would have us believe, the NFU-backed massacre of one of the UK’s most-loved – and most-protected – wild animals looks now (as campaigners have long insisted) to be an ongoing effort to wipe out badgers totally.
This would of course not only benefit the dairy industry (though fixing lax biosecurity and sloppy movement controls would do that without the millions of pounds spent on killing badgers), but also the construction industry (badger setts are protected and road and housing developments can be held up if wildlife gets inconveniently in the way of the bulldozers) and the shooting industry (gamekeepers have long blamed badgers for snaffling pheasant eggs, though given that many of the 50 million+ pheasants released into the countryside every year arrive here as chicks from French rearing centres that’s more of an excuse to just get rid of everything that it’s not legal to shoot at).
In the meantime, though, badgers continue to exterminated out of the English countryside.
‘The reality of the badger cull is in that stark number – 38,642 badgers killed – an increase of over 10% on 2019’s figures, and 140,991 deaths overall since this policy was adopted in 2013. And the total will continue to rise, likely going beyond 200,000 by the end of 2022, with a further two years already locked into current expansion plans and four-year licences still to run. The culling policy is inhumane and unnecessary at best, and at worst it’s a smokescreen and ineffective strategy to appease farmers’.Dawn Varley, Acting CEO Badger Trust, 28 Jan 21
It’s an utterly disgraceful and ultimately pointless slaughter which is causing stress and anger (see – Guest Post | Badger Cull Monitor: ‘I am exhausted’). While the dairy industry probably isn’t too bothered about the mental health of pro-wildlife folk, they should be concerned about the wafer-thin profits of the farmers on the front line. The more badgers that die, the more people are looking again at whether they really need to consume dairy products. Non-dairy milks, in particular, are increasingly popular – and not just because of the deaths of so many badgers: they come out better than cow’s milk when you look at their carbon emissions, how much land they take up and how much water they use as well.
To buy and support dairy, or to buy and support more ethical producers,. As usual. the choice as the consumer is ours.