As autumn comes so does the second year of licences being issued for the shooting of badgers in Cheshire, and now with culling in ‘low risk’ areas across large parts of England.

This carries with it a risk of extinction of this iconic species. The government wants to reduce the badger population by a massive 70 per cent as it blames badgers for a ‘reservoir’ of bovine TB.

This infection costs the dairy industry and the government large amounts of money as compensation is paid to farmers for infected cattle slaughtered as a result of infection.

Scientific evidence is not conclusive of the incidence of infection due to badgers. It is thought to be around six per cent which leaves 94 per cent infection caused by other factors.

Bovine TB can remain on fields or in slurry for about six months, so even if there were no badgers whatsoever, cattle can be infected or reinfected from soil. All mammals including humans, dogs, mice, hedgehogs, foxes and rabbits can carry bovine TB.

Do we shoot them all?

Poor bio security on farms, exposed manure heaps, feed and outbuildings being accessed by wildlife, spreading of possibly infected slurry on the fields and movement of cattle are also contributing factors to the spread and incidence of bTB infection.

Both cage and free shooting of the badger are inhumane, especially on this scale.

Allowing free shooting of an animal, which may not die instantly, but be left mortally wounded to die slowly seems medieval in this day and age.

Our government is paying people in the Cheshire countryside to shoot badgers at night. Madness and not what most of us wish our taxes to be spent on.

 Policing the cull of badgers cost Cheshire Police £800,000 last year – money which could be spent on the NHS or education.

Vaccination of badgers is a cheaper option and proven to be effective, humane and available from Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group.

The cruelty of mass shooting of a precious wildlife species is not an acceptable solution and according to science it is unlikely to be effective. I prefer taxes to go towards faster more accurate tests and vaccination of both badgers and eventually possibly cattle too.

Please write to your MP if you agree. To help protect badgers in Cheshire contact  

Rachel Thompson