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Hampshire cull - holding response from Ranil Jayawardena MP

I thought I'd share this with members in here. The email from Sarah Craxton arrived in my inbox this morning. Generally, it's a more positive response than the standard cut and paste reply we've seen from several of the other Hampshire MP's written to about the Area 56 and Area 67 culling policy.


Dear Mr Cole


Thank you for your further email. Mr Jayawardena has asked me to contact you again on his behalf to assure you that on 13th February, he conveyed the concerns that you raised in you email of 12th February to Defra – including your call for the culling of badgers to be discontinued in Area 56 and 67 in Hampshire.


Unfortunately he has not yet received a response but please be assured that he will continue to chase this matter on your behalf. 


Kind regards

 

Sarah Craxton


Constituency Assistant

THE OFFICE OF THE RT. HON. RANIL JAYAWARDENA, M.P.

Member of Parliament for North East Hampshire

T: 01256 702468

The Bury, Odiham, Hampshire, RG29 1NB



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 ________________________________________


From: Nick Cole


Sent: 27 March 2024 12:23


To: Ranil Jayawardena MP


Subject: Re: The Hampshire Badger Cull


Dear Ranil,

 

Please reply to my email of 12th February without further delay. 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Nick Cole


From: Nick Cole <nickncc1@msn.com>

Sent: 12 February 2024 15:37

To: Ranil Jayawardena MP <email@ranil.uk>

Subject: The Hampshire Badger Cull

 

Dear Ranil, 

 

As you know, I am a constituent of yours in Hampshire and live at 56 Browning Road, Church Crookham, Fleet, Hampshire, GU52 0YJ.

 

By the end of 2023 between 2,000 and 2,500 badgers had been shot dead in Hampshire under government license as part of its bovine tuberculosis (bTB) "eradication" programme. We'll know the exact number when the final 2023 cull figures are made public by Defra. 

 

This slaughter has taken place despite no badgers in the county having ever tested as confirmed positive for bTB according to all Defra and APHA data in the public domain. Such data includes the "badgers found dead" study between 2016-17 which identified 0 (0.00%) bTB positive tests from 65 roadkill carcasses recovered across the county. It also includes the final bulletin from the APHA "Southern Edge" roadkill project which ran from April 2021 to April 2023 and which reported 1 potentially positive bovine TB test out of 84 carcasses recovered and tested from across Hampshire. The presence of bTB itself had not been confirmed and further tests were being undertaken when the project came to an end last April. It's noteworthy that the carcass in question was recovered close to the county border with Wiltshire, a "High Risk Area" for bTB and may yet prove not to have been infected with the disease.

 

It's a matter of fact that the only non-bovines identified with bovine TB in Hampshire in recent years were a fallow deer in 2019, a domestic cat in 2020 and another fallow deer in 2022. In the latter case the deer was found between 5 and 7 km away from 3 new cattle herd incidents and genetically linked by the APHA to 2 local farms via Whole Genome Sequenced testing. The APHA 2022 Year-End Epidemiology Report for Hampshire (the most recent available) concludes that "deer are involved in the local infection dynamics" in the county. The APHA offered no such evidence or commentary regarding badger involvement, either as a reservoir of bTB or as a confirmed source of herd infections at any time. Nonetheless, since 2021 badgers have been culled in Hampshire in their thousands. 

 

The most recent Disease Report Form (DRF) assessment for Hampshire by the APHA, in its 2021 Year-End Epidemiology Report, identified that by far the largest weighted proportion of source infection derived from veterinary submissions that year was "movement of infected cattle". A primary reason was considered to be the use of cattle markets in the High Risk Area, the closest of which is Salisbury in Wiltshire. The weighted proportion of source infection attributable to badgers from DRF submissions in Hampshire in the same year, at just 10.9% (and entirely guesswork), was lower than two of the counties in the Low Risk Area of England where no badger culling has ever taken place. 

 

The broader "APHA Bovine Tuberculosis in England in 2021" report showed the weighted proportion of source infection attributable to badgers in Hampshire to be the lowest of ALL cull counties in the High Risk Area, in the Edge Area and comparable to the 10.3% figure for the overall Low Risk Area.

 

In May 2021, the government issued a response to the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) consultation. This set out provision for the UK Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Christine Middlemiss, to recommend early termination for intensive badger cull licenses issued in 2021 and 2022 after 2 or 3 years. In Hampshire, culling began in Area 56 in September 2021 and in Area 67 in September 2022. Both Areas are therefore now eligible for consideration of early termination. 

 

Given all of the above I am asking you to please write to Dr. Middlemiss and your colleagues within Defra, and Natural England, asking her to ensure the culling of badgers, a protected species, be discontinued in both Area 56 and Area 67 in Hampshire with immediate effect. 

 

I look forward to your response. 

 

Yours sincerely, 

 

Nick Cole


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Hi Nick,


I, and some other good people, (Gill, Alan, & Steve) have just finished surveying Morgaston Woods as part of the State of the Badger survey. I have passed the info we found onto The Badger Trust, but I'm just wondering if you would like the info gained (lots!) also for the Hampshire map? I did have some issues loading the info onto the Badger Trust App, (it kept saying that the what3words location was invalid!) and ultimately gave up/ran out of time. But I could also have another go at this, if preferred and you're able to access that, or send you copies of our field survey documents via email? Happy to do whatever is preferred.


Cheers, Jane

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