Campaigners opposed to the badger cull are upping the pressure on the organic sector, as a new survey suggests one in three organic shoppers could end up boycotting organic milk because of concerns over the planned controversial cull.
A YouGov poll of 3,651 adults – commissioned by charity Care for the Wild, which opposes the cull – suggests 35% of those who buy organic produce are either “very likely” or “fairly likely” to stop buying organic milk from farms that participate in the planned badger cull pilots.
Philip Mansbridge of Care for the Wild said the results showed the organic industry – and the Soil Association – urgently needed to come clean on where the sector stood with regards to the cull.
“Just as people buy Fairtrade because they don’t want to buy from sweat shops, many people are drawn to organic dairy products because they care about animal welfare,” he said.
“The organic brand means something to people – and this poll shows that it doesn’t mean slaughtering badgers.”
A pilot cull of badgers is due to go ahead in West Gloucestershire and Somerset shortly, although there were suggestions today it could be delayed as anti-cull campaigners step up their protests.
The Soil Association said in a position statement on the cull that its standards covered production aspects only, “not other things that happen on farms, such as public access or killing animals like rats or rabbits”.
“Decisions on whether to allow badgers to be killed on their land is something individual organic farmers will decide,” it said.
“It would not make sense for consumers to stop buying organic milk if they disagree with badger culling when independent reviews have shown that no other system of farming has higher animal welfare standards and government studies have shown that organic farms have up to 50% more wildlife.”