To Hell with the Best Practice Guidelines

Posted: October 6, 2015 in Comment
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As the NFU’s badger killing exercise draws into it’s final phase we’re reminded that the guidelines drawn up by Natural England are being constantly flouted by those doing the killing. Of course when there was an independent expert panel and monitoring taking place then one would hope that these bad practices would be kept to a minimum but of course the Government sacked the panel when they didn’t provided the kind of conclusion they were hoping for. This of course gave carte blanche to the cull contractors to break any rules they see fit to get their numbers killed however due to some great work in the fields by sabs fighting the cull in all the zones these examples have come to light in a big way, one even making the front page of a national newspaper and another video getting over 50,000 views on social media. We can only assume that these will be the tip of the iceberg.

Gloucestershire badger killer and member of the Ross Harriers Hunt.

Gloucestershire badger killer and member of the Ross Harriers Hunt.

Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs did a fine job in locating and identifying two killers although they had already killed a badger. The shooters had also failed to follow many of the bio-security measures outlined in the best practice guidelines issued by Natural England, notably that the body of the badger wasn’t double bagged but merely stuffed into the back of a rucksack while the cull contractor wasn’t wearing gloves when he handled the animal either. Obviously bio-security is a serious matter however the complete lack of it in the video shows again it’s nothing more than a random killing exercise, they just want the numbers and any relation to bTB is largely being ignored, or of course they know the badgers don’t have TB in the first place. It also wouldn’t surprise you to know both the shooters were identified as members of the Ross Harriers Hunt. Killing is a way of life for these people, it’s not “just a job” as they claim, they love it or they wouldn’t do it.

The second incident occurred when a mixed group of sabs located a badger in a cage trap in the Dorset Zone. This of course shouldn’t be that surprising (although why they need to cage trap when the pilots are about free shooting is another matter) however the most important factor here is the time of day it was discovered. Once again Natural England specify that traps should be inspected and any badger caught must be killed before midday. There are clearly welfare issues involved here and time spent in the trap should be minimised regardless of the final outcome. The time the badger was found in the trap was 2:45 pm. Potentially that animal could have been in there for well over 15 hours. It had certainly made a significant effort to dig it’s way out. Luckily this badger would live to fight another day and was safely released, somewhat stressed and no doubt in need of a drink but otherwise unharmed.

This one had a lucky escape. Note the trappers spade leaning against the fence.

This one had a lucky escape. Note the trappers spade leaning against the fence.

Natural England should be looking at this and at the very least suspending the licenses of the culling contractors involved and holding any payment. Personally I believe the cage trapper should be prosecuted under animal welfare laws as well. How the NFU and Defra (I think they’re one and the same now) can still claim what they’re doing is based on science is quite frankly complete buffoonery. They’re also conspicuous by their silence on these matters. Their arrogance in not even attempting any sort of damage limitation only serves to highlight what they think of the general public at large.

They’ve paid for a cull, they’ll kill what they can, in any way they can and to hell with the licensing.

Email Natural England and ask them if they’re going to enforce their own best practice guidelines: btb@naturalengland.org.uk

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It would seem that the killers have reached their minimum targets in Gloucestershire and Somerset. This was to be expected given the randomly selected and low numbers required however they are some way off in Dorset. The NFU will be pulling out the stops and sending their Gloucestershire killing teams to Dorset in an effort to bring the numbers up. We’ll be matching them with more personnel to hopefully neutralise their efforts. More people will always be welcome. Come and do your bit.

It’s national badger day today, it doesn’t feel like something to celebrate.

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