Badger Trust’s Dodgy Maths

BY GILES BRADSHAW

Has there been a dramatic fall in numbers of badgers killed on the roads?

The Badger Trust charity is running a campaign Give Badgers a Brake. (No this is not a typo but a pun). They want drivers to slow down and stop killing so many badgers. They invite campaigners to make the following post on social media:

#Badgers are the number one species killed on our roads with 50,000 killed annually #GiveBadgersABrake Stop4Brock

They also campaign vigorously on the badger cull and provide an estimation of the total numbers of badgers that will be killed:

If 50,000 badgers are being killed every year on the road as the Trust exhorts people to claim on social media, then it’s easy to work out how many would have been killed on the roads in the twelve years from 2013 to 2025:

12 * 50,000 = 600,000

600,000 is more than twice 280,000.

This is not to support or downplay the badger cull but on the Badger Trust’s own figures it appears that roads may be killing a lot more badgers than the cull.

I messaged Rosie Wood, one of the trustees of the Badger Trust about the impact of road traffic on badgers and her reply was interesting:

If Rosie is correct and “The English cull is sadly still the biggest killer” and the cull will kill 280,000 in twelve years then it clearly follows that the Badger Trust’s estimate of badgers killed on the roads is wildly out. The trust’s 280,000 figure over twelve years means 23,333 badgers being culled a year. If Rosie is right then cars actually kill less than this. The maximum figure must be under 23,333.

Indeed she confirms this is her position:

So why if the number of badgers killed each year on the roads has now fallen below 23,333 are the Trust still using the outdated 50,000 figure?

I’ve messaged Rosie Wood and the Badger Trust asking them to provide evidence of this dramatic fall in badger deaths on roads:

This is what I received in response:

That is not a reply that answers my questions. Therefore I am left to draw just one conclusion:

In spite of what their trustee claims, the statements put out by the Badger Trust coupled with her own are clearly inconsistent.

Rosie Wood insists that the count of badgers killed on the roads has now fallen to below their estimate for badgers being culled. If she is correct then road deaths must now be below their badger cull estimate of 280K over twelve years, that’s 23,333 and a drop of over 50%.

They have failed to provide any evidence of such a dramatic drop in road deaths. However if they seriously believe their own trustee’s claim – they are now lower then the badger cull – then they are deceiving the public with the 50,000 figure. If they don’t, then their trustee is being equally deceptive by claiming that road deaths have fallen so much. It simply would not be acceptable for her to undermine the #GiveBadgersABrake campaign in this way.

So what’s your response to all this Badger Trust? You are Registered charity No. 1111440 and the British public deserves an answer.

*The Author’s own position is that of healthy scepticism about the effectiveness of the badger cull and he has not participated in the cull. He is also very concerned about the wholesale killing of wildlife going on on our roads.