Badger cull sites accidentally leaked to activists by MPs

Emma Gatten
·2 mins read
badger
badger

Activists protesting badger culls have been given access to secret shooting locations after they were accidentally leaked by two MPs.

Controversial culls intended to stop the spread of bovine TB are scheduled to take place in Derbyshire for the first time this year, after the Government bowed to pressure from farmers. 

Two local MPs, Pauline Latham and Heather Wheeler, reportedly wrote to local constituents backing the move, but also accidentally including maps that detailed where the culls were planned. Exact details of planned shootings are never normally released. 

Activist group Derbyshire Against the Cull, which was passed the information, said the MPs had “done the anti-cull more favours than they would like”.

The group called for its members in the newly revealed cull zone to help by tipping them off to any potential culling activity in the area. 

“If you live in, or near the zone, don't forget you can help the badgers. Please report any suspicious activity, such as vehicles in fields with no animals, suspicious activity around badger setts, bright lights in the fields at night or gunshots,” the group said on Facebook. 

Mrs Latham told the BBC: "This was obviously down to human error and should not have been sent out. I am sure you appreciate that occasionally administrative mistakes do happen."

Mrs Wheeler declined to comment when approached by the BBC. 

Badger culling is a controversial practice that is supported by farmers who believe it protects their cattle. Anti-culling groups say there is little evidence that culling is effective in stemming TB, which they say is spread between the cattle. 

Derbyshire has seen the biggest badger vaccination programme in the country and activists say the vast majority of badgers killed are bTB-free. 

The Government has indicated that it wants to phase out badger culling, and has brought in field trials of a cattle vaccine, but it was accused of going “from badger control to badger annihilation” when it expanded culling areas earlier this month. 

The new licenses mean the number of badgers to be killed this year could double last year’s count to reach 70,000.