The ethics of culling badgers

16 May 2020

Jones, T.

Vet Record Image

I write in response to the Debate article by Alick Simmons on the ethics of badger culling (VR, 21 March 2020, vol 186, pp 357-358).

He lists questions on ethical wildlife control compiled by Dubois and others,1 who accept that culling can ‘be justified by evidence that significant harms are being caused to people, property, livelihoods, ecosystems and/or other animals’, and supplies his answers.

One question is ‘Are the decisions warranted by the specifics of the situation rather than negative labels applied to the animals?’.

To this, Simmons answers: ‘No they are not. While the badger enjoys comprehensive protection and is regarded fondly by a large proportion of the public, it has been characterised largely by farming interests as destructive, dirty, diseased and a threat to ground nesting birds and hedgehogs’.

But I would suggest the badger is a threat to ground nesting birds.2, 3