“Badgers are a protected species under the 1992 Badger Protection Act and evidence shows that shooting badgers is not a viable solution to the spread of bovine TB. If this is the case, then it doesn’t make sense to pursue an expensive culling programme at the cost of the taxpayer. I am urging the Government to reconsider its position and to continue to invest in the vaccination programme in this county and beyond to protect what remains a threatened species for future generations.”This gem was reported on the Derbyshire PCC website - [link] where this misguided person is promoting vaccination as a substitute for culling TB riddled badgers - who, after two decades of complete protection, are anything but 'threatened'.
Methinks his protests may have more to do with the published costs of policing the culls, than any altruistic love of wildlife or a skewed view of the effects of vaccination. And as it is farmers who have personally coughed up many thousands of pounds, in order to mop up decades of governmental inaction and shirking of responsibility, the very least the police can do is uphold the law. All laws, not just some of them.
In a paper released last autumn, Defra estimate - [link] that the cost of policing culls will be around £255,000 over the four year main cull period for each area licensed. (p.7 of the linked report)
The need for policing has been a feature of the policy to date due to the need to maintain public safety. It is likely that extending to eleven new areas will require a similar level of policing, at least in their initial year. However, police forces have consolidated their command and control structure for operations this year to reduce costs. It is a shared goal of Defra and the Home Office that policing should become business as usual for local `police forces and attract no additional costs. Over time, following further successful operations without security incident, we expect policing costs to disappear. This ambition is factored into our central scenario.One benefit reported in rural areas, which rarely see a policeman, but are subject to all the guff that goes with 'crime' dressed up as joy riding, poaching or theft of valuable stock and machinery, was that anecdotedly of course, a drop in such cases was noted, as more police were around chasing badger activists. A group of people, who if they were not exercising their 'rights' to prevent lawful and necessary culls of overpopulated and infected wildlife, would actually cost the taxpayer - or the Derbyshire PCC - very little at all.