Tory MP Calls For More Wild Animals To Be Killed

Richard Drax thinks we should cull more animals, not fewer


3 Minutes Read

Richard Drax Drax has called for wild animals to be culled - Media Credit: Alamy

A UK Conservative MP has said “all wild animals” should be culled in response to conservation groups calling for an end to the badger cull.

Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, made the comments at a debate on farming in the House of Commons. He said that culling badgers has been proven to help stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) between farmed cows. 

“Can I suggest that rather than talking about stopping culling on badgers and to introduce some other form, that all wild animals have to be culled,” he said. According to Drax, this is because animals such as deer and foxes have no natural predators in the UK, causing their health to “deteriorate.” He added: “We don’t want to wipe them out, we just simply want them controlled.”

More than 210,000 badgers have been killed since the cull began in England in 2013, according to the Badger Trust. The Badger Trust says the cull has not been effective in containing bTB, but the government disputes this.

Animal “culling” is endorsed by certain groups, and the government even recently suggested feeding deer to prisoners as part of its plan to “control” populations. Animal rights organizations have long disputed that culling wild animals is necessary, however. A spokesperson for PETA UK previously told Plant Based News:  “No animal – whether a gentle deer killed under the guise of a ‘cull’ or a pig or cow hung up and shot with a bolt gun – wants to die to be served up in a stew or as a sandwich filler.”

Beaver releases

A beaver on the bank of the River Tay in Scotland
Elliot – Many beavers in the UK have been shot since being reintroduced

Drax, who reportedly owns thousands of acres of farmland, also complained of a beaver “being released illegally” in west Dorset.

A pair of beavers were legally released by Dorset Wildlife Trust in 2021. In 2023, they produced a litter of kits for the second year running.

“Beavers don’t hang around and say ‘this is my home’, as has been proved in Scotland – they breed and move elsewhere and do the same in other rivers,” said Drax. “And, as I understand it, in Scotland they’ve had to be culled because they’ve broken out of the area that was initially given to them.”

He urged the government to “look at not only the illegal releasing of beavers into rivers – if indeed this is the case and that hasn’t been proven as yet – but certainly to the legal release and this emphasis on rewilding which, while we all want to see wild animals, there is a proper place and location for each of the various species.”

UK farmers and landowners have had a contentious relationship with beavers since they started being reintroduced legally in 2015. There are only about 400 beavers in the UK. Meanwhile, there are thought to be more than a million beavers living in Europe.

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