Flooding fears for badgers disrupted, drowned – warns HSI/UK

Humane Society International/UK warns that badgers could be falling victim to the severe flooding affecting the west and south of England, with setts damaged or flooded out, clans disrupted and cubs drowned. The charity is particularly concerned for the welfare of badgers in the pilot cull areas of Somerset and Gloucestershire who have already endured significant disturbance from weeks of free shooting and trapping last year.

Mark Jones, vet and HSI/UK Executive Director, said:

“The fate of our beleaguered badgers in this flooding is of real concern, especially in Somerset and Gloucestershire where these animals have already endured weeks of shooting under the government’s culling policy. Some setts will almost certainly have been damaged or flooded out completely, meaning that whole badger families could be disturbed. There will be cubs in those setts right now and it’s possible that some cubs will have drowned too. This could have significant impacts on badger populations later in the year. In the light of such dire weather impacts, we urge DEFRA to delay making any badger cull roll-out decision and to commission a thorough impact assessment. Our poor badgers have been through enough.”

The Independent Expert Panel report on the effectiveness and humaneness of the pilot culls, is expected to be published soon. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is due to announce a decision at the same time on whether culling will be extended to a greater number of areas.

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