Q. Do you have a position on the ‘free-shooting’ of badgers?

AThe humaneness of using the free shooting method is of grave concern to the group. If a cull is to be carried out, we believe it should be done in the most

humane way possible. Because of their anatomy it is potentially more difficult to free shoot a badger in a quick humane way than, say a fox or a deer. This means there may be a high risk of wounding badgers instead of killing them outright, resulting in a slow, painful death for the animals. It is currently unclear how wounding rates will be assessed and monitored. 

We also have concern surrounding draft guidance that dogs may be used to retrieve wounded animals. The legal protection provided to badgers was not just to safeguard badgers against the cruelty and persecution inflicted by badger diggers and baiters, (baiting is an activity which involves setting dogs upon badgers in order to encourage a fight between them), but also abuse by some farmers and landowners from activities such as bulldozing and slurrying badger setts. Whilst badgers can be legally killed and dogs used against them in the trial areas the same animals would be protected outside the trial areas leading to confusion on their status.