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Badger cull thoroughness

Summary

Between 2013 and 2016 collected records show that the area of participant's land parcels in which no badgers were removed was half (actually 49.5%) of the accessible area across the badger cull zones. In Gloucestershire this percentage exceeded 75% in 2014 and was just less than 75% in 2016. This was found from information supplied by Natural England and is based on records submitted at badger collection points by those performing the culls.

The data

Data was requested from Natural England on 13th September 2017 under Freedom of Information Request RFI 4007. The request can be viewed by clicking here.

The above request refers to polygons. Natural England defined a polygon as follows on 21st October 2016 in response to a request for clarification.

When we are supplied with the information on a dispatched badger the location information we receive relates to the participant who's land the badger was dispatched on. Participant land is mapped as a block of land, which in GIS mapping is called a polygon. So for example if we receive information that a badger has been dispatched on the P456's land, then we allocate that dispatched badger to the polygon belonging to P456. We will not have the precise location via say a Grid Reference. All we know is that the dispatching took place somewhere in that polygon.

On 8th November 2017 Natural England sent the data shown in the following links.
  1. RFI 4007 Response to Customer 081117.
  2. RFI 4007 Response to Customer Q1 Daily Returns 2013-2016 081117.
  3. RFI 4007 Response to Customer Q2&Q3 081117.

Illustration of the data received in RFI4007

The images below are thumbnails which may appear at a larger size if clicked.













YearAreaNumber of badgers collected
but not included in the
count of badgers trapped/shot
2013-Information not held
2014-Information not held
2015Area 1 - Gloucestershire1
2015Area 2 - Somerset1
2016Area 2 - Somerset4


Discussion of the above results

If only 65% of licensed areas are accessible and only half of accessible areas are having any badgers removed from them then only a third of licensed area is being treated.

Comparison with RBCT



In terms of the number of badgers removed per square kilometre, cull rates in these culls are comparable to those in the RBCT. Please refer to the tables below for References. Clicking on the links will take you directly to the correct page in these references.

Badgers removed in the RBCT reactive culls

YearZoneCull typeNumber of badgers removedTreatment area (km2)Badgers removed per km2References
1999breactive7396.80.75Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000areactive34112.50.30Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000breactive3496.80.35Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000creactive179120.61.48Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002areactive47112.50.42Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002breactive8496.80.87Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002creactive115120.60.95Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002ereactive62108.60.57Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002freactive145113.91.27Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002greactive171115.71.48Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002hreactive17123.60.14Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003areactive36112.50.32Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003breactive11096.81.14Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003creactive101120.60.84Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003dreactive122115.21.06Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003ereactive125108.61.15Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003freactive291113.92.55Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003greactive84115.70.73Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003hreactive143123.61.16Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003ireactive94137.60.68Table_2.6_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4


Badgers removed in the RBCT proactive culls

YearZoneCull typeNumber of badgers removedTreatment area (km2)Badgers removed per km2References
1998bproactive238101.82.34Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
1999aproactive55103.80.53Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
1999bproactive83101.80.82Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
1999cproactive244121.22.01Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000bproactive74101.80.73Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000cproactive111121.20.92Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000eproactive747118.86.29Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000fproactive452110.84.08Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000gproactive4261143.74Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2000hproactive1621161.40Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002aproactive146103.81.41Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002bproactive49101.80.48Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002cproactive126121.21.04Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002dproactive292104.12.80Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002eproactive96118.80.81Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002fproactive249110.82.25Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002gproactive2041141.79Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002hproactive2311161.99Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002iproactive218131.41.66Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2002jproactive442110.54.00Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003aproactive52103.80.50Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003bproactive170101.81.67Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003cproactive132121.21.09Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003dproactive369104.13.54Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003eproactive258118.82.17Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003fproactive103110.80.93Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003gproactive1441141.26Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003hproactive711160.61Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003iproactive176131.41.34Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2003jproactive185110.51.67Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004aproactive58103.80.56Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004bproactive111101.81.09Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004cproactive187121.21.54Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004dproactive211104.12.03Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004eproactive214118.81.80Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004fproactive220110.81.99Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004gproactive1031140.90Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004hproactive751160.65Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004iproactive93131.40.71Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2004jproactive109110.50.99Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005aproactive48103.80.46Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005bproactive58101.80.57Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005cproactive163121.21.34Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005dproactive182104.11.75Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005eproactive148118.81.25Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005fproactive155110.81.40Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005gproactive1171141.03Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005hproactive531160.46Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005iproactive173131.41.32Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4
2005jproactive109110.50.99Page_10_of_Ref_2,Table_2.4_of_Ref_4,Appendix_D_of_Ref_4


Badgers removed in the culls which started in 2013

YearZoneNumber of badgers removedLicensed area (km2)Badgers removed per km2References
2013somerset_29402563.67Page_9_of_Ref_8,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2013gloucestershire_19213112.96Page_9_of_Ref_8,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2014somerset_23412561.33Page_1_of_Ref_3,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2014gloucestershire_12743110.88Page_1_of_Ref_3,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2015somerset_22792561.09Page_1_of_Ref_14,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2015gloucestershire_14323111.39Page_1_of_Ref_14,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2015dorset_37562233.39Page_1_of_Ref_14,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016gloucestershire_12523110.81Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016somerset_22172560.85Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016dorset_35022232.25Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016cornwall_47113931.81Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016cornwall_58512723.13Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016devon_620385673.59Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016devon_78334311.93Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016dorset_830004167.21Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016gloucestershire_918586492.86Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3
2016herefordshire_106242852.19Page_2_of_Ref_16,RFI4007_Sheet_Q3

In the above tables treatment area in the RBCT means the same as licensed area in the 2013 culls. It is the overall area which encompasses both accessible and inaccessible area.

Conclusions

According to records of land parcels on which badgers have been removed, no badgers have been removed from approximately half of the accessible area and two thirds of licensed area in all zones each year. If cull thoroughness is key, and these records are reliable, this does not bode well for TB control.

However, in terms of the number of badgers removed per square kilometre, cull rates between 2013 and 2016 were comparable to those achieved in the RBCT.

A note

History has shown that badger removal requires considerable persistence and dedication regardless of the method being used. Cullers have only cage trapping and free shooting available to them for 6 weeks per year unless an extension is granted. This makes the task given to them challenging particularly if they have the added burden of running a farm, managing a business or going to work the next day.

References

  1. Monitoring the efficacy of badger population reduction by controlled shooting during the first six weeks of the pilots. AHVLA. Report to Defra. 31st January 2014.
  2. Association between Levels of TB in Cattle Herds and Badgers. C.A Donnelly and J Hone. 2010.
  3. Summary of badger control monitoring during 2014. DEFRA. December 2014.
  4. Final Report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB
  5. Pilot Badger Culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire. Report by the Independent Expert Panel. Chair: Professor Ranald Munro. Presented to DEFRA Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP, March 2014.
  6. The Government's policy on Bovine TB and badger control in England. DEFRA. December 2011.
  7. Badger culls and contractors hired. An email sent to nfu.org.uk on 18th Jan 2015.
  8. Badger Culling: Controlled Shooting Pilots. SN/SC/6837. E Ares. Last updated: 11 January 2015.
  9. Bovine TB: Distribution of effort in badger cull pilots Year 2. Reply from DEFRA to a FoI. ATIC0507. 21 January 2015.
  10. Estimating social group size of Eurasian badgers Meles meles by genotyping remotely plucked single hairs. LJ Thomas et al. Source: Wildlife Biology, 13(2):195-207. Published By: Nordic Board for Wildlife Research. 2007.
  11. Setting the minimum and maximum numbers for Year 2 of the badger culls. Advice to Natural England. Supplied by DEFRA. August 2014.
  12. Badger Cull Costs and Culled Badger Numbers. RFI 6456. DEFRA. 1st May 2014.
  13. Distribution of badger removals across the cull zones. FoI response from Natural England. RFI 2911. May 2015.
  14. Summary of badger control monitoring during 2014. DEFRA. December 2015.
  15. Setting the minimum and maximum numbers in Dorset for Year 1 of the badger cull. DEFRA. Advice to Natural England. August 2015.
  16. Summary of badger control monitoring during 2016. DEFRA. December 2016.
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Last Modified 12 Dec 2017 06:10
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