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UK badger culls have caused immense suffering according to an expert – who adds that the culls are not reducing bovine TB.
Professor Ranald Munro, a former government advisor on the cull has condemned it in a letter to Natural England, as it is expected to be rolled out to new areas in 2019.
“We are unconvinced that the culling of large numbers continues to be justified in the view of recent data showing zero disease control benefits after six years of culling of badgers in Gloucestershire,” he wrote.
According to the professor, around 40,000 of the animals have been slaughtered since the cull was introduced in 2012.
“The numbers are huge, they really are. If you look at the likelihood of not dying within five minutes of being shot, you are looking at 3,000 badgers having suffered immense pain at a minimum,” he told the BBC.
“There is a huge issue of suffering in these badgers.”
‘We take welfare seriously’
Natural England, the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, says it is ‘in the process of reviewing the badger cull applications for 2019?.
“One of our roles is to independently consider licence applications to cull or vaccinate badgers, and we take policy advice from Defra when deciding if the activity will deliver effective disease control,” said a spokesperson.
“Licensing is not done lightly and those involved in the cull – farmers, contractors, and Natural England staff – take the welfare of badgers very seriously.”