Questions about the humaneness of the badger cull are being raised again after a wildlife charity claimed to have found an animal that did not die immediately.
Secret World Wildlife Rescue (SWWR), in Somerset, examined “badger 41” after it was brought to them from the nearby cull zone.
The charity said x-rays and a postmortem revealed the animal, which was found at 2:30am by protesters near Sampford Brett on September 15, was thought to have been shot by contractors in the area.
“From initial veterinary examination, including x-rays, it was evident the badger had an obvious rifle shot wound to its abdomen that had forced its intestines through its abdominal wall,” a spokesman for the charity said.
“The shot had clearly not been on target and would, in the opinion of our consultant veterinary surgeon Elizabeth Mullineaux, have been unlikely to result in the badger’s immediate death.”
This, according to SWWR, is contrary to recommendations from the independent expert panel that marksmen target the middle of the chest target area.
Furthermore, SWWR claims there was no evidence of a second follow-up shot or that the cull contractors had observed the badger after shooting it for signs of life, both requirements under the Defra culling licences.
It said a detailed postmortem will be carried out and the findings made available.
Vet and executive director at Humane Society International/UK, Mark Jones, said: “The discovery of badger 41 confirms our worst fears about the horrendous animal suffering the so-called trained badger cull marksmen will be inflicting.
“Shooting badgers in the abdomen will likely result in those animals taking a considerable time to die. DEFRA’s assurances that steps have been taken to ensure this year’s culls would be humane have been shown to be meaningless.”
“Badger 41’s death was almost certainly not humane; how many more like her are suffering the same fate?”