Sneaked out shortly before MP's Christmas recess, the Government's decision to 'carry on culling' badgers with no evidence that the slaughter is reducing the incidence of bovine TB is a travesty of process, writes Lesley Docksey. But it does have one useful outcome - it has exposed Defra's claims that the cull is 'science-led' as arrant nonsense. Science never even got a look in.
Can you be a committed nature and animal lover, and enjoy shooting and angling? Only after extraordinary mental contortions, writes Lesley Docksey - who is only mildly surprised to find out that a Facebook critic is a PR man for 'country sports and associated technologies'.
British officialdom and those they serve are obsessed with the killing of wildlife, writes Lesley Docksey. It seems that whatever the 'problem', from bovine TB to the serendipitous arrival of beavers in Devon, the reflex is the same - to kill wild animals. But increasingly, the British people aren't having it. And our fightback is making waves ....
A High Court judgment on the lawfulness of the 2014 badger cull is awaited. A criminal investigation is under way on the dangerous and illegal behaviour of culling contractors. Obviously, writes Lesley Docksey, it's the perfect time for Natural England to authorise another round of culling.
New revelations show that the rifle-wielding badger cullers were often acting criminally, writes Lesley Docksey - pursuing badgers with loaded weapons on both private and public land outside licenced areas, with impunity, while the IEP was apparently kept in the dark. Strict controls are essential - or just an end to the cull.
Last week the Upper Tribunal of the Royal Courts of Justice ordered Defra to release key information about the badger cull based on a 'public interest' argument, writes Lesley Docksey. Could this judgment open a new era of transparent and accountable government?
'We need to look at the best scientific evidence' on badgers and bovine TB, says Environment Secretary Liz Truss. But as Lesley Docksey writes, the 'best scientific evidence' appears to mean only that which supports the cull - and there's precious little of it!
To live sustainably we must learn to live with wildlife, Patrick Barkham argues in his book Badgerlands. To do this we have much to learn from our ancestors - but we must also discard their barbaric practices and outrageous myths that, even today, some are so keen to perpetuate.
Owen Paterson's departure from Government could see the end of the hated badger culls and a wider return to environmental sanity, writes Lesley Docksey. Given his disbelief in climate change and his arrogant disregard of science, it's not a moment too soon!
With the 6th International Conference on Bovine TB under way today in Cardiff, Lesley Docksey reports on Defra's latest statistics. BTB in England is falling - and it's falling fastest where the strongest biosecurity measures are in place, confirming the experience of Wales and Scotland.
Following new research showing that even culling a single badger from a family can cause a 'perturbation' that spreads TB, a new call has gone out on farmers to give up on culling, and 'go badger friendly' to control the disease.
NFU running police control rooms. Violent 'bounty-hunting' badger shooters in the woods at dead of night, none too bothered about the finer points of law. Confused, ill-informed police bearing prejudice against 'protestors' ... It's all a recipe for a big mess, writes Lesley Docksey.
Senior Gloucestershire police were questioned this week about the policing of the 2013 pilot cull, writes Lesley Docksey. But the Police Commissioner never asked about the most serious problems - police bias and ignorance of the law, and culler criminality.
In its report on last year's pilot badger culls, the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) judged that the culls failed the criteria for effectiveness and humaneness, but satisfied those for safety, writes Lesley Docksey. The facts say otherwise.
You would think vets would take animal welfare seriously, writes Lesley Docksey. So why does the British Veterinary Association (BVA) support England's badger cull - when all the science is telling them it's both cruel, and ineffective against Bovine TB?
Paterson's speech to Parliament on the continuation of the badger cull was not so much a masterpiece of deception, writes Lesley Docksey, as a crude botch-up of errors, wrong statistics and a failure to understand the very real problem of TB in cattle.
Anyone working to protect badgers from culling will know of Dominic Dyer - wildlife advocate and new director of the Badger Trust. Lesley Docksey met him 'on the hoof' at a recent march - and found out just why the badger campaign is so important to him.
Pending the publication of the long-delayed Independent Panel report on the badger cull, Lesley Docksey finds that the fight for England's badgers is part of an even bigger campaign for scientific and political integrity.
Brian May is best known as lead guitarist for the rock band Queen. But as Lesley Docksey discovers, he is also an astrophysicist, and a committed - and highly effective - advocate for Britain's wild animals, including badgers put at risk by England's cull programme.
Now we know - the pilot badger culls have inflicted unacceptable cruelty on wild animals and failed to meet their key objective. They may even have spread bovine TB into new areas. Lesley Docksey concludes - its time to call the whole thing off!
Storms, floods, tidal surges, a failed badger cull, GMO controversies ... then Owen Paterson, widely considered the worst Environment Secretary we have ever had, vanished. Lesley Docksey wonders - will he ever return?
New figures just released by Defra show that bovine TB was declining in UK herds - just as Paterson claimed the disease was 'spreading' - and that Wales's no-cull, biosecurity and vaccination policy led to a 24% drop in herd infections.
Number 10 is seeking an 'escape plan' for a badger cull gone disastrously wrong under Owen Paterson's direction. Lesley Docksey reports on a likely end to the cull - and to Paterson's ministerial role.