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Badger cull cost £4,100 per badger, claim campaigners

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 05, 2014

The badger cull has been the subject of condemnation by protesters - who have been blamed for increasing the costs to the taxpayer

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The cost of the badger cull pilots in Somerset and Gloucestershire has been put at £4,100 per badger shot, campaigners claim – and put the cost of a four-year trial at £19 million.

Animal charity Care for the Wild almost doubled its previous estimate, made in October, of £2,200 per animal, and now puts the total cost of the cull trials, which began in August at £7.3 million.

Taxpayers will pick up £5.8 million of that, with farmers paying directly to cover the direct costs of shooting the 1,771 badgers.

The figures increased after the culls were extended, with both coming to an end last month – the Gloucestershire cull being abandoned due to a failure to achieve its targets.

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Charity spokesman Dominic Dyer called it “one of the most disastrous and expensive wildlife culls in history”.

He added: “This is being done to the sound of scientists almost universally saying that culling won’t have any significant impact on TB.”

Derived from answers to parliamentary questions, statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Freedom of Information requests, the figures out the cost to farmers who paid for the culling itself at £1.49 million. The policing bill was put at £2.66 million, made up of costs for manpower, transport, equipment and accommodation.

A further £3.17 million was attributed to costs at environment quango Natural England, the Food and Environment Research Agency and Defra, and included trapping, monitoring and data collection.

A spokesman for the NFU said: “If marksmen had been allowed to go about their lawful business, there wouldn’t have been any policing costs.”

The annual cost of bovine TB to the taxpayer has been repeatedly put at £100 million by the NFU and Defra. A large chunk of this is compensation paid to farmers who had TB-infected cattle slaughtered. This reached £34 million in 2012-13, up from £30 million the year before that. The costs go further, however, with the plummeting value of cows under restriction and the huge mental strain on farmers who see swathes of their herd lost. Some of the costs to Defra are regained through the onward sale of infected carcasses.

A report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee last year put the cost of an injectable badger vaccine at £2,000-£4,000 per sq km, with the vaccine itself expected to cost £5-6 per dose and the DIVA test (which differentiates between infected and vaccinated cattle) costing £25, in addition to existing testing costs.

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  • nickthompson  |  January 06 2014, 2:44PM

    Answer please Charles to my comment @ 1.34 pm

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  • Audra  |  January 06 2014, 2:03PM

    Charlespk: I suggest you read the article in today's W.D.Press regarding Dr Chris Cheeseman and the badger cull: 'Paterson's use of science to justify badger cull 'beggars belief'.............

    |   5
  • nickthompson  |  January 06 2014, 1:34PM

    Charlespk: Please correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying insurers will not insure a farmers cow herd, if you are I am afraid you are incorrect, I have just contacted two well known insurance companies who both stated that were they to be asked to insure a farmers cows they would do so, which I find unsurprising seeing as Cunard manage to insure the multi million pound QE2 through Lloyds.

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  • Audra  |  January 06 2014, 1:25PM

    You're probably right animaladvocat. However, I try to live in the hope that these people will sometime reach enlightenment.

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  • animaladvocat  |  January 06 2014, 1:15PM

    Don't think there is much point discussing any salient points with this Charles person, I suspect it is Charles henry who goes on many sites promoting cruelty to animals. Sounds like he thinks animal abuse in any form is OK, not worth spending time typing on someone of his ilk!

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  • Audra  |  January 06 2014, 1:10PM

    Charlespk you keep quoting that out of date website to bolster your brutal opinion. Scientists are against this cull. Cows are kept in intensive conditions, over used and abused so that their immune systems are broken down, thus making them more susceptible to BOVINE TB. Spread by cow to cow and then unfortunately to the poor badger, under 2% of which are excretors. Illegal movements of cattle, lack of bio-security, and, following foot and mouth (also cruelly handled by government), to restock farmers irresponsibly moved cattle from the infected South West to non infected areas. Badgers are the 'scapegoat' for irresponsible bad FARMING PRACTICE.

    |   5
  • Charlespk  |  January 06 2014, 1:09PM

    A very stupid question Samantha.. If you weren't ever allowed to build flood defenses. . Insurers wouldn't ever insure you against flooding. . They are not Charities. There wouldn't be a problem now if they hadn't protected badgers. . No amount of your AR waffling will ever change that fact. This exploratory cull hasn't failed. All it proved was that with the illegal activities of activists, we shall have to once again return to focal culling and the gassing of setts. The idiots in Government or from DEFRA who suggested using shooting in the first place were probably subversives. If they remove badger protection the problem will be solved by the farmers with no cost to anyone.

    |   -6
  • nickthompson  |  January 06 2014, 12:38PM

    Charles please inform us why Farmers like all other owners of businesses both large, and small carry insurance in their case for Cattle herds, but expect tax payers many of whom ( carry business insurance) are forced into paying for this failed cull?

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  • nickthompson  |  January 06 2014, 12:38PM

    Charlespk: Charles please inform us why Farmers like all other owners of businesses both large, and small carry insurance in their case for Cattle herds, but expect tax payers many of whom ( carry business insurance) are forced into paying for this failed cull?

    |   5
  • Charlespk  |  January 06 2014, 12:14PM

    No one has ever claimed that there haven't be breaches of the rules. . But that could not possibly account for the rise from just 400 to 40,000 reactors having to be slaughtered. INDISPUTABLE, historically accurate, scientific facts. http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy (open in a new window) GET USED TO IT.

    |   -8