Friday, 11 May 2018

Badger cull policing cost £800,000 in one county

Opponents of cull say cost of £1,000 per animal killed means it is wasteful as well as cruel

Tue 1 May 2018 14.32 BSTLast modified on Tue 1 May 2018 22.00 BST

The cost of policing the controversial badger cull in just one of the 21 zones last autumn approached the £1m mark – the equivalent of more than £1,000 for every animal killed there.

Objectors to the cull described the bill for Cheshire as a horrendous waste of public money and called for the policy to be scrapped on economic as well as animal cruelty grounds.

The zone in Cheshire was one of 11 new areas where the cull, which is designed to help eradicate bovine TB in cattle, took place in the autumn of 2017.

In January, a member of the organisation Wounded Badger Patrol asked Cheshirepolice under freedom of information legislation how much the operation for policing the cull – codenamed Operation Aviator – cost.

At first the force said it did not hold the information but a member of the patrol, appealed, writing: “Having been out in the cull zone five nights a week and the police liaison for one of the groups, I know how many police officers were taken off normal duties ... as well as seeing the number of police in cars/riot vans out each night of the cull period.”

Last month the force apologised for not providing the information and revealed it had charged the Home Office £831,000 for the badger cull operation.

According to government figures, 736 badgers were killed in the Cheshire zone in 2017 over 48 days. In all, there were 21 cull zones in England in 2017 involving seven police force areas.

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