Welfare of badgers (meles meles) subjected to culling: development and evaluation of a closed season

R. Woodroffe, F.J. Bourne, C.L. Cheeseman, D.R. Cox, C.A. Donnelly, G. Gettinby, J.P. McInerney, W.I. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For the post 25 years, European badgers (Meles meles) have been subject to culling in Britain in attempts to limit the spread of tuberculosis (TB) to cattle. As part of a far-reaching evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of badger culling as a TB control measure, this paper assesses one aspect of the welfare of badger populations subjected to culling. the killing of breeding females, which risks leaving their unweaned cubs to starve in the den. To avoid this possibility, a three-month closed season was adopted, running from 1st February to 30th April, based on the best available estimates of the timing of birth and weaning in British badgers. During May 1999-2003, when a total of 4705 adult badgers were culled, field teams failed to capture 12 unweaned litters when their mothers were despatched. In 31 other cases, lactating females were culled but litters of almost-weaned cubs were also caught and despatched at the some dens, usually within a day of capture of the mother. The number of unweaned cubs missed by culling teams - estimated at approximately nine per year on average - was dramatically lower than that projected by a badger welfare lobby group. Our data suggest that the dosed season is effective in reducing the suffering of unweaned cubs in badger populations subject to culling, and we recommend that this measure be maintained should badger culling form a component of any future TB control policy.
LanguageEnglish
Pages19-25
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal welfare
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005

Fingerprint

Mustelidae
Meles meles
culling (animals)
badgers
tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
lactating females
Weaning
Psychological Stress
Running
Population
United Kingdom
Breeding
control methods
weaning
Parturition
cattle
breeding

Keywords

  • animal welfare
  • bovine tuberculosis
  • closed season
  • delayed implantation
  • embryonic diapause
  • European badger

Cite this

Woodroffe, R., Bourne, F. J., Cheeseman, C. L., Cox, D. R., Donnelly, C. A., Gettinby, G., ... Morrison, W. I. (2005). Welfare of badgers (meles meles) subjected to culling: development and evaluation of a closed season. Animal welfare, 14(1), 19-25.
Woodroffe, R. ; Bourne, F.J. ; Cheeseman, C.L. ; Cox, D.R. ; Donnelly, C.A. ; Gettinby, G. ; McInerney, J.P. ; Morrison, W.I. / Welfare of badgers (meles meles) subjected to culling: development and evaluation of a closed season. In: Animal welfare. 2005 ; Vol. 14, No. 1. pp. 19-25.
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Woodroffe, R, Bourne, FJ, Cheeseman, CL, Cox, DR, Donnelly, CA, Gettinby, G, McInerney, JP & Morrison, WI 2005, 'Welfare of badgers (meles meles) subjected to culling: development and evaluation of a closed season' Animal welfare, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 19-25.

Welfare of badgers (meles meles) subjected to culling: development and evaluation of a closed season. / Woodroffe, R.; Bourne, F.J.; Cheeseman, C.L.; Cox, D.R.; Donnelly, C.A.; Gettinby, G.; McInerney, J.P.; Morrison, W.I.

In: Animal welfare, Vol. 14, No. 1, 02.2005, p. 19-25.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Cox, D.R.

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Woodroffe R, Bourne FJ, Cheeseman CL, Cox DR, Donnelly CA, Gettinby G et al. Welfare of badgers (meles meles) subjected to culling: development and evaluation of a closed season. Animal welfare. 2005 Feb;14(1):19-25.