1. ITV Report

Hundreds gather in Exeter to campaign against badger culling

Hundreds gathered in Exeter to campaign against badger culling Photo: ITV News

Protesters who want to see the end of badger culling took to the streets of Exeter. Around 200 people marched through the city, telling ITV that while they felt bolstered by how many people turned out today - but that they were angry that their fight to end the cull has had to continue.

"It's cruel and it's extremely costly, you know £50million is the estimate so far since the culls began nationally. We're asking the Government to rethink, why are we focusing on badgers? It's a very, very costly distraction when you think, you know £50million how many nurses, how many police officers, we really should be saying stop now, look at the science and do the right thing by our farmers and by our wildlife."

– JENNY PIKE, Chair, Devon Badger Group

Badger culling, in the hope of preventing the spread of bovine tuberculosis, started in some areas in 2013 but the cull is being expanded.

"If farmers are worried about badgers and you know we can see that, there is not zero risk from badgers but you can vaccinate them at about a 5th of the cost and the benefit from vaccinating badgers happens within about 4 years rather than 9 years which is the theoretical benefit from culling. 96% of the badgers killed in the cull don't have TB, that's not a rational way of trying to prevent disease."

– PETER MARTIN, Campaigner
Badger culling started in some areas in 2013 but the cull is being expanded. Credit: ITV News

In a statement DEFRA said that no vaccine is fully effective.

"Bovine TB is a slow moving, insidious disease. It is difficult to detect, can be harboured in the wildlife population and no vaccine is fully effective. There is no single measure that will provide an easy answer and that is why we are pursuing a wide range of interventions including strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, improving biosecurity on farms and when trading, and a cull of badgers where they are linked with herd breakdowns."

– DEFRA, Statement
Campaigners say they are angry that their fight has had to continue. Credit: ITV News

But one family who spoke to ITV News, told us that they believe the killing of a protected species should not be one of Defra's interventions.

"The numbers that are being culled on a regular basis you are looking at a possible localised extinction of a protected, iconic species and I don't want a countryside where the badger is a rarity, is extinct, I want her to have a thriving, eco-system."


The Devon Badger Group says since the cull began, 40,000 badgers have been killed nationally - and with the cull expanding that number will only increase.