Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Dr Elaine King, National Federation of Badger Groups (J19)
I am writing to provide the Committee with information
which has only recently become available and which may be relevant
to the evidence session tomorrow morning (15 November).
The Committee will be aware that a current court
case involves the prosecution of four people for criminal damage
to a badger trap in January 2000. The case will also be testing
the legality of the Government's badger culling trial (see NFBG
news release sent to the Committee earlier today [not printed]).
The NFBG wishes the Committee to be aware of evidence that was
given in the case.
The NFBG has been informed that one of the witnesses
for the prosecution, a MAFF fieldsperson, told the court that
the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) which comprise the methodology
for the trial, stipulate that badger traps are not to be set for
badgers in the four weeks prior to the closed season (February
to April). This means that traps should not be set in January.
However, the court case relates to an incident where badgers were
being trapped on the 19 January. Badgers were therefore being
trapped contrary to the SOP. The NFBG has long asserted that the
closed season is too short and it is likely that lactating sows
would be killed in January.
The Committee may wish to ask why badgers were
being trapped in January, when the SOP stipulates that no trapping
should take place during this month.
In addition, we have been informed that the
fieldsperson admitted that traps are left in situ during the closed
season, baited but not set. It was apparently explained that this
was in case the field staff were asked to trap badgers during
the closed season.
The Committee may wish to ask whether MAFF has
ever authorised the trapping of badgers within the closed season
(February to April) as this could have far reaching implications
for animal welfare and for the trial's compliance with the Bern
Thank you for your consideration of this matter
and I apologise again for the information being provided at short
14 November 2000