HEREFORDSHIRE has now been selected as one of the next counties to be included in the government’s misguided policy of culling badgers in the forlorn hope that this end bovine TB in cattle. This programme has been in operation since 2013, initially in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

The government has a target of killing 70% of all badgers in whichever county is added to the list. Shooting is the chosen method of killing. This takes two forms; either free shooting in which those employed by companies to carry out the work simply go out at night and shoot any badger in sight or the badgers are trapped in cages and then shot.

In either case there is no way of knowing whether or not the shot badgers were healthy or infected with TB. Badgers are attributed as carrying TB and are accused of being the main cause of passing it onto cattle. Although there is no specific scientific reference as to how this occurs, it may be badgers to cattle or the other way around.

So far, 3,961 badgers have been killed between 2003 and 2015, 1,571 in Somerset, 1,630 in Gloucestershire and 756 in Dorset and so it can be expected that about 1,000 badgers will be lost in Herefordshire.

With almost 4,000 dead badgers this was the ideal opportunity to carry out post mortems on all the dead animals which would have allowed the government to come up with an accurate figure for those badgers with TB. As far as is known, no research was carried out on the dead badgers.

So far the government has wasted over £25 million of public money killing many badgers which were perfectly healthy. Far better that the money had been used to support farmers with regular free testing of their herds and funding for gates to prevent interaction between wildlife and cattle.

Herefordshire Badger Group will have a stall on the Grange in Leominster on May 30, from midday onwards. Please do come along and support the anti-cull lobby.