Northern Ireland badger cull moves step closer

Badger culling in Northern Ireland’s TB hotspots has moved a step closer, with government officials calling for expressions of interest in carrying out operations.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) announcement formally invited companies to set out how they would conduct a cull.

A Daera spokesman explained this was the first stage of the appointment process and that no culling had been authorised. Any successful company would later enter a contract with the department on a not-for-profit basis.

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The farmer-led company would then fund the cull itself while Daera provided authorisation and oversight.

Culling guidelines

Areas where companies are likely to be granted a culling licence will have higher-than-average badger social group density and prolonged TB breakdown herds.

These zones will be known as intervention areas and are expected to be about 100sq km (40sq miles) but may be larger.

Culling rules will follow those adopted in England – the controlled shooting of free-roaming badgers between dusk and dawn, plus cage trapping and shooting.


The closing date for receipt of completed expression of interest forms is 5pm on 21 April 2023.

Daera stressed that only companies which submitted an expression of interest would be eligible to submit a full application at stage 2.

Applications can be made via Daera’s website