Lots of information in here, dates for your diary and opportunities to help our monochrome buddies. If you've got any questions, thoughts or ideas about any of the below, please let me know!
Dear Badger Group Members
A week after many intensive culls began for 2023, the minimum and maximum kill targets have just been released, aiming to kill 260,000 by January 2024. It is a horrifying read for us all. Natural England has not licensed any new area intensive cull licences in 2023 but has authorised the licence holders to resume operations in 29 existing badger cull areas, with 7 areas with changes to their original cull area. I am also giving a gentle reminder to register for the Groups Regional Meetings, which are fast approaching; we have our usual Group Spotlight highlighting your fabulous activities and the latest news. Coming up in the next newsletter in two weeks, we will be sharing our newly updated Planning Consultation Guide for Groups, to assist those of you who deal with various planning applications that may affect badgers, so look out for that!
Badger Kill Targets Announced Badger Cull intensifies – Government aiming to kill 260,000 badgers by January 2024 Government still refuses to test badgers for bTB, yet the killing continues to accelerate. The government finally published this year’s planned intensive badger cull ‘kill targets’ – despite culling starting again in August. The government’s stated aim is to ‘remove’ (kill) between 70% and 90% of badgers in each cull area and across most of the South West of England. In 'low-risk’ areas, there is no upper limit. As Badger Trust feared, this year's licence data reveal that up to 53,234 badgers could be killed this year, meaning the total death toll for badgers in England is expected to surpass 260,000 since culling began in 2013. This unscientific onslaught is now pushing badgers to the brink of extinction in long-established cull areas, despite the fact that badgers are not tested to establish whether they have bTB or are a risk to cattle. All cattle slaughtered are proven to have bTB; with badgers, no tests are undertaken. Cattle 800 times more likely to pass bTB to badgers than badgers to cattle However, the problem isn’t badgers – it’s cattle biosecurity. For example, a recent government study in Northern Ireland showed that cattle were 800 times more likely to pass bTB to badgers than badgers were to cattle. Read the full release >
Regional Online Meetings
The first Regional Online Meetings, back in June, were well received and a great way to catch up with other local groups and discuss current, relevant topics. The next meetings are upon us. These meetings are small, open forums offering flexibility so you can connect with each other, ask questions, and discuss important issues. Register your place now! There is no agenda; it is all about what you need to discuss. * NORTH Online Regional Meeting * Tuesday 19th September 2023, 7pm. REGISTER > * WEST & SOUTH WEST Online Regional Meeting * Thursday 21st September 2023, 7pm. REGISTER > * EAST & SOUTH EAST Online Regional Meeting * Monday 25th September 2023, 7pm. REGISTER > If there is something specific you do want to discuss at your regional meeting, you can email Groups@badgertrust.org.uk in advance to ensure it is covered. NB: These meetings in September will be 1 hour long to accommodate those who take part in legal night patrols but still want to attend the meetings. Usually, they are around 1.5 hours long.
* Warwickshire Badger Group * Have released another group of orphaned cubs, which makes 25 cubs in the last three years that they have found suitable release sites for, released and monitored. They have continued to study the six which were released at an artificial sett in 2021, which included an erythyristic cub and have watched how they have adapted and integrated with the wild badgers in the area, through the use of night cameras and an RFID system. The total number of orphaned cubs the group has successfully released over the past ten years is over fifty! Huge thanks go to the group and Steve Hawkes, in particular, for all his efforts. Visit their Facebook for updates > * Essex Badger Protection Group * Released a group of orphaned cubs into an artificial set they built this year, yet another group of cubs living the best life and being support-fed for many weeks to come by their fantastic volunteers. Visit their Facebook for updates >
* Article in the Independent * Government criticised for ‘outrageous’ U-turn on badger cull as fresh plans revealed. Exclusive: Consultation to start within weeks after estimated half British population of protected species wiped out. Read Full Story > * USPCA calls for rethink on cull in Northern Ireland * The animal welfare charity says Northern Ireland is sleepwalking towards a 'tragedy' if a proposed badger cull goes ahead. Stating the eradication of this disease will not be brought about by a cull of badgers and, in fact, the latest evidence from AFBI is clear that transmission of bovine TB is highest between cows...'cattle-to-badger transmission could be 800 times greater than badger-to-cattle, which was practically negligible. The badger is neither the problem nor the solution to this dreadful disease'. “We also know from similar culls in England and the Republic of Ireland that they do not have the intended effect. In Wales, the levels of TB are reducing at a similar rate to that in England, and they have not culled a single badger'. Read the full story > * Farmers Weekly Article * Defra plans to consult on reserving the right to targeted badger culling to tackle bovine TB where epidemiological assessment points to a reservoir of disease in wildlife, according to reports. Read Full Article > * Ecology Press Coverage * Badger Trust's new badger protection guide for the Planning and Development Sector covered by various Ecology media outlets, including InsideEcology > * Vet Times Articles * Various Badger Trust news covered in the Vet Times, including State of the Badger Pilot Project > and Badger cull extension >
Volunteer Recruitment Training Reminder
We are still seeking feedback from groups as to whether you want training on how to recruit and retain volunteers. We know many of you are struggling with this right now, so please let us know if you are interested in this training! Do you need help attracting and keeping active volunteers? We have an opportunity to offer subsidised online 'Volunteer Recruitment' training to groups and would like to know if you are interested in this. We know many of you struggle to attract and retain active volunteers, yet active volunteers are vital to continuing your group activities. Having the skills and know-how to engage effectively and retain volunteers can only help your group and take the pressure off of those of you currently taking on a lot. We would need to charge around £10 per person, and Badger Trust would subsidise the rest, but we would also need to fill all the 30 places for it to proceed. Please can you let us know by emailing email@example.com if this is something you and your group are interested in us proceeding with?
Diary Dates & Group Resources!
Next Badger Trust Grant Deadlines
Monday 23rd October 2023
More detailed grant Information >
Regional Group Online Meetings * NORTH * Tuesday 19th September 2023, 7pm. REGISTER > * WEST & SOUTH WEST * Thursday 21st September 2023, 7pm. REGISTER > * EAST & SOUTH EAST * Monday 25th September 2023, 7pm. REGISTER > Group Resources The shared library has many resources for groups, so please take a look and make use of them. Groups Resource Library > eNews links Review previous enews updates or link to them in your newsletters. Access links to previous newsletters > Please share Badger Trust news with your members or ask them to sign up for these updates.
If you have any questions about any of the information in the newsletters, need advice or support with something, or just want to chat about your group and badgers, please do contact us! Whatever you're up to for badgers, we'd like to hear about it! Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org and we can profile your wonderful work nationally. Sally Jones Groups Coordinator