Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 May 2016

Featured letter: stop the badger cull

Indira Prasad, Leicester

Despite the success of vaccine trials, the Tories are to extend the badger cull again in 2016. There will be new cull zones in Herefordshire, Dorset, Cornwall and Gloucestershire.

Today, in a climate of economic uncertainty and crippling austerity, the government has so far spent 25 million on slaughtering over 4,000 badgers and denting the ecosystem. In September 2015, a Freedom of Information request revealed the cost per badger stood at 6,775.

The link between bovine tuberculosis and the badger population - and the controversy surrounding the issue - can be traced back to the early 1970s, when a dead badger was identified on a farm in Gloucestershire. Bovine tuberculosis can in rare cases transmit to humans, but pasteurisation makes that risk very small.

2013 saw Gloucestershire and Somerset pilot the first badger cull, which was repeated in 2014. In 2015 it was announced the cull would extend to Dorset, with a target of up to 835 badgers.

Given the public resources invested in the cull, it may come as a surprise that peer-reviewed scientific studies find the cull is not only ineffective, but could be actively counterproductive.

The cull, run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), also fails to meet its own humaneness criteria. Autopsies have apparently shown that around 25% of badgers took up to five minutes to die.

Bovine tuberculosis exists within the overwhelming majority of mammals in British wildlife, so singling out the badger population is ineffective in managing the disease in cattle.

Defra's own data suggests that while 15% of badgers may test positive for BTB, just 1.6% are capable of passing on the disease, meaning 98.4% of badgers pose no risk to cattle at all.

The culling of badgers can actually increase infection levels in cattle due to the 'perturbation effect', whereby the removal of a proportion of the badger population in a particular area causes the rest to behave in different, unusual ways.

There are a number of cheaper, more humane and far more effective methods of controlling bovine tuberculosis, such as cattle vaccination, badger vaccination and improved containment. In Wales, the less costly option of vaccination has led to a 48% decrease in cattle slaughter.


The millions of pounds of taxpayers' money spent is an outright waste, as independent expert panels have pointed to over and over again. The Tories spent just under 16.8 million on culling in 2015 alone.

I believe that socialists should take a stance against the cull. It is an unscientific, inhumane and ineffective policy, damaging to the environment, and a financial disaster.

Can we justify millions in taxpayers' money needlessly spent on another year systematically eliminating wildlife? Much better to spend the money on a mass vaccination programme, which could create jobs as well as more effectively managing the disease.

Leicester Animal Rights, along with members of the Socialist Party, have organised the 'Leicester March Against the Badger Cull' on 21 May. The march will begin at 12.30pm, Victoria Park, Leicester LE1 7RU and culminate in a rally in Leicester city centre.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 18 May 2016:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories attack: fight back

NHS staffing black hole

Bristol Green backs cuts

Stamp out sexist dress codes

University of Facebook

Blair bombshell

What we saw

Them & Us

PCS Conference 2016

PCS leads the way in fightback against Tories

"Where's Carwyn?" - museum workers demand action

BIS members strike to save jobs and keep offices open

Government defeated by check-off court challenge

The EU

The EU and the economy - Project Fear steps up

Vote to leave the 'Employers' Union' and fight the bosses' government

Socialist Party workplace news

Teachers: vote Yes to strike - defend pay and conditions

Higher education action over pay and casualisation

Junior doctors vote to work with and develop links with other unions

Unite housing workers walk out against intransigent bosses

Low paid Pennine Foods workers strike over cuts to premiums

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

On an upward trajectory: my experience as a new Socialist Party member

Newcastle: countering the fascist menace

International socialist news and analysis

France: New stage in battle over labour law

Belgium: unions call national demos and general strikes

Readers' comments and reviews

TV review: Occupied

Featured letter: stop the badger cull

Socialist postbag


Home   |   The Socialist 18 May 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Animal rights:

triangleCouncil meeting abandoned after undercover policing protest

triangleTamil Nadu mass protests against state repression

triangleState intimidation of young protesters


triangleLeicester University workers strike against redundancies

triangleSave Leicester General Hospital

triangleStop Israeli state terror: solidarity protests continue

triangleLeicester protest against arms supplies to Israel


triangleGloucestershire Socialist Party: Palestine - how can liberation be achieved?

triangleGloucestershire Socialist Party: Imperialism in the Middle East


triangleBus drivers' strikes continue for fair pay

triangleDefence workers strike over derisory pay offer


triangleRich, raw tale of financial crisis's impact on rural Ireland

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments


Robert Tressell

Books that inspired me: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists



Readers' comments



Response to Observer article on China



TV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners



Readers' Opinion



The Socialist Inbox



Film review: Nomadland



TV review: Three Families is excellent. But protest movement is missing



Readers' opinion



Readers' opinion



Bobby Sands - Nothing but an Unfinished Song



The Socialist Inbox



The Socialist Inbox



The Socialist Inbox



The Socialist Inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021