Mr B Hill barryhill.home@gmail.


Our ref: RFI 5946 Date: 21 November 2013

Dear Mr Hill, REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: Monitoring Pilot Badger Culls Thank you for your request for information about the pilot badger culls which we received on 25 October. As you know, we have handled your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). The EIRs apply to requests for environmental information, which is a broad category of information defined in regulation 2 of the EIRs. Public authorities are required to handle requests for environmental information under the EIRs. They give similar access rights to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The information you requested is below. 1. How is the killing of Badgers being monitored? A team of monitors observed marksmen during the 6 week pilot culls. The monitors had firearms experience, as well as experience of fieldwork at night and undertaking behavioural observations of wild animals. Compliance with licence conditions were also monitored. At least 60 shooting events were observed both for rifles and for shotguns. 2. Does the official count of Badgers killed during the cull period include those that have been killed illegally by other unlicensed persons? No. The illegal killing of badgers is by its nature illicit and not subject to observation. Therefore it is impossible to ascertain how many badgers, if any, have been killed illegally in the cull areas. The pilot culls are being carried out to assess the humaneness, efficacy and safety of controlled shooting, not any illicit activity and the level at which it occurs. If there are suspicious cases where badger carcasses do not

appear to be accounted for by the legal culling, this would be reported to the police as potential cases of wildlife crime. 3. If the official count does not at present include the Badgers killed illegally, will the count figures be adjusted to include these? No. It is not possible to identify numbers of badgers taken through any illegal activity because the numbers are unknown. Nor would any cases of road kill be included in the cull numbers. Only those badgers culled as part of the cull are counted. . 4. How many arrests / prosecutions have been made in respect of the illegal killing / gassing of Badgers by unlicensed persons in the 2 pilot areas? And 5. How many arrests / prosecutions have been made in respect of the illegal killing / gassing of Badgers in other areas (e.g. Devon & Cornwall)? Defra does not hold this information as it is not the department’s responsibility to arrest or prosecute individuals undertaking illegal activity. This is the role of the Police. 6. Has Natural England & DEFRA been effective in their monitoring and control of the Badger cull operation, and have they acted responsibly by protecting Badgers from the illegal & inhumane killing by others? And 7. Please explain how Natural England & DEFRA has been effective in monitoring and controlling the Badger cull operation and protected Badgers from being killed illegally and unlawfully. Defra agencies have been monitoring the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of the operation of pilot culls only. The results of this monitoring will be published in a report in the New Year. It is not the role of Defra to police the areas where pilot culls and the extended culls are taking place and monitor for any illegal activity. The police are responsible for dealing with any unlawful activities. However, if Defra receives reports of illegal activity together with supporting evidence, then the Department will pass the information to the police. In keeping with the spirit and effect of the EIRs, and in keeping with the government’s Transparency Agenda, all information is assumed to be releasable to the public unless exempt. Therefore, the information released to you will now be published on together with any related information that will provide a key to its wider context. Please note that this will not include your personal data.

I also attach an Annex giving contact details should you be unhappy with the service you have received. If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Yours sincerely,

Defra TB Programme Email:

Annex Complaints If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request you may make a complaint or appeal against our decision under section 17(7) of the FOIA or under regulation 18 of the EIRs, as applicable, within 40 working days of the date of this letter. Please write to Mike Kaye, Head of Information Standards, Area 4D, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR (email: and he will arrange for an internal review of your case. Details of Defra’s complaints procedure are on our website. If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, section 50 of the FOIA and regulation 18 of the EIRs gives you the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Please note that generally the Information Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have first exhausted Defra’s own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF