The Conservative government has quietly added numerous extensions to existing badger cull areas since 2017. These extensions have snowballed since 2021, the year that the government announced that it was ‘phasing out’ the killing of badgers.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests shared with the Canary have spotlighted the existence and scale of the extensions. In total, they cover hundreds of kilometres of land. So in other words, the badger killing fields are expanding in certain respects, not winding down, despite the government’s ‘phase-out’.

The badger cull ‘phase out’

Amid enduring public opposition to the badger cull – ongoing since 2013 – the government announced in 2021 that it would only continue the killing for the next five years. But the FOI revelations suggest that as the government entered this ‘phase-out’ period of the cull, it started to ramp up a phase-in of extension areas.

The badger cull policy has been two-pronged in terms of lethal measures. Each year, Natural England licenses new intensive cull areas which run for four years. Additionally, it adds supplementary cull areas. These are areas that have already had four-year-long culls. Supplementary cull licenses essentially permit these areas to keep killing for years more…

To continue reading this story, please follow this link to the Canary, which originally published the article.

Featured image via caroline legg / Flickr, cropped to 770×403, licensed under CC BY 2.0