Opinion has again been divided on the controversial badger cull after campaigners slammed Cheshire police for its £831,093 spend on policing the activity.
The Wounded Badger Patrol Cheshire outed the figures following a Freedom of Information request, which when broken down according to Government figures of 736 badgers culled in the zone in 2017, equates to more than £1,000 per badger.
The group accused the constabulary of wasting taxpayers’ money to fund a ‘politically motivated and entirely ineffective badger cull’.
A spokesman said: “While the figure is staggeringly large, we are not surprised by it. Our on Wounded Badger Patrol every night we could see just how much police time and resources were going into policing the badger cull, and what a waste of taxpayers’ money it was.”
But Cheshire dairy farmer Phil Latham said it was a ‘nonsense calculation’.
“There is a cost for culling badgers yes, but that is being met by farmers,” Mr Latham said. “TB control costs cost taxpayers about £100m a year which sounds a lot but considering there is more than 30 million people in the country, people are only paying about £3 each.
“Whereas for dairy farmers, last year it cost me about a quarter of a million pounds.”
Mr Latham said there was ‘a lot wrong’ with the TB system but a starting point would be to ‘stop encouraging people to lurk in the bushes at night’.
People shoot every night of the year with high powered rifles, the costs come from people putting themselves at risk by trying to interfere with the governments Tb strategy which includes licensed shooting & cage trapping egged on by others to do so who ought to know better— Phil Latham (@PhilLatham)
People shoot every night of the year with high powered rifles, the costs come from people putting themselves at risk by trying to interfere with the governments Tb strategy which includes licensed shooting & cage trapping egged on by others to do so who ought to know better— Phil Latham (@PhilLatham) May 1, 2018
This week alone Mr Latham has lost 11 cows to TB. He warned the situation ‘gets worse each year’.
“The overall costs of not dealing with TB vastly outweighs the cost of doing something about it,” he said. “Over the last 20 years in Cheshire we have gone from 1/400 badgers having TB to about one in four.
“I would say that is a national disgrace and those who allowed it have failed in their duties. We have a burden of infection which needs addressing.”
Acting deputy Chief Constable Darren Martland of Cheshire police added: “During the planned cull which began last September and ran for six weeks, we were impartial and fair to everyone, whatever their interest or involvement in the pilot scheme.
“We worked with those who wished to exercise their human rights to oppose the cull through peaceful and lawful protest and those undertaking the cull to enable them to carry out a lawful activity.”