Dr Brian May Condemns Badger Cull

Save Me Trust Press Statement

Tuesday 23 June, 2015

Brian May’s Save Me Trust  condemns badger cull as “an expensive and failing disaster”. The Government’s failing badger cull couldn’t be more disastrous. Whilst Ministers and a few landowners continue to hang on to the policy, the science continues to fall apart around them. With no credible science to support their actions at the beginning of the cull and now “key” support abandoning the policy, the Government surely has to look at a credible, science led, cost-effective solution to the problem of bTB.

In the latest blow, the National Trust has now confirmed that it will not support any roll-out of the cull on its land. As the country’s largest landowner, the message is loud and clear. Patrick Begg, the Rural Enterprises Director of the National Trust, said: “It remains our position following the first IEP assessment that we cannot support the roll out of further badger culls on our land.”

Jeanne Berry, the spokesperson for Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, said, “This decision of the highly respected National Trust confirms that there are escalating difficulties for the Government and pressure to cancel any proposed roll out. We believe the Government is now looking for better ways to tackle the terrible disease of bTB.”  She continued: “We are grateful that the National Trust is taking a scientific approach to bTB and has done excellent work on its Killerton estate in Devon to show that badger vaccination is a real and cost effective alternative to the culling of badgers.”

This latest news, combined with the recent concerns of the British Veterinary Association who have stated that free shooting of badgers was inhumane (the pilot culls were set up to assess the effectiveness of free shooting badgers) and the public outcry over the costs and morality of culling all mean that this new Government should respond and change tack to show it is listening to the experts.

Dr Iain McGill, Veterinary Surgeon, BSc (Hons), BVetMed, MRCVS, who previously exposed the Government’s foot and mouth cover up, has led the call for vets objection, or to any association with this policy, as it has no chance of achieving its aims. He has called on the BVA (British Veterinary Association) to withdraw their support. (See letter below)

Brian May said “The BVA have already, rightly, condemned the free shooting of badgers as inhumane, and free shooting is now exactly what George Eustice is proffering as a policy, in a desperate attempt to turn the cull around from the tragic mess it has created.”

The Save Me trust have revealed the badger culls cost significantly more in 2014: with the cost of policing the cull zones now revealed, it is now known that every badger killed in 2014 cost the British taxpayer £5,624 - a sharp increase from 2013 (£5,200) that caused outrage last year. Official figures show the cost of £3,350 for every animal killed, before the cost of policing. Anne Brummer CEO of the Save Me Trust said “Now the Government have confirmed the policing costs of £1.4 million in 2014, let’s be clear - it is disgusting, at this time of austerity, that this Government is wasting tax payers money on a policy which plainly doesn’t work.”

Last year, The Government’s own IEP (Independent Expert Panel) came to the conclusion that the cull was inhumane, and were promptly disbanded, an indication in itself of a callous disregard for the suffering of animals. Experts including Lord Krebs have been warning the Government from the beginning that killing badgers will not make any impact on the problem of Bovine TB in Cattle. But at the moment, flying in the face of all scientific evidence, their own advisors and public opinion, the Government has announced its intention to continue the slaughter.

Having claimed the scalps of three ministers already, is it little wonder Liz Truss is nervous. Ms Truss has had private meetings with scientists without her Government “spads"(special advisors) and has probably reached the same conclusion as the rest of us - that this policy has failed - it’s not good for cattle, for badgers, for farmers or tax payers.

A spokesman for Team Badger said “To cap it all, Wales - where no badgers have been killed - is now showing a significant improvement in bTB incidence in cattle. This was achieved by stronger controls within the cattle farming industry. The public, along with new Conservative MPs, are disappointed with the apparent prioritising of a return to blood sports in the early days of a new administration. It looks as if both fox hunting and badger culling are becoming toxic issues for this Government.”


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