Brian May, Queen guitarist and founder of the Team Badger movement:
“Dominic’s work in the last two years, speaking up against the persecution of British wild animals, has been an example and inspiration to us all.”
WESTERN MORNING NEWS
Controversial anti-cull spokesman to lead Badger Trust
22 February 2014 by WMNA Greenwood
A leading campaigner against continuing the badger cull to tackle the scourge of bovine TB has been appointed as chief executive of the Badger Trust.
Dominic Dyer, policy advisor for the charity Care for the Wild, will take up the role alongside his existing post next month. Mr Dyer has become one of the leading voices in the anti-cull debate although not without sparking controversy. Last year he was forced to issue an unreserved apology to NFU president Peter Kendall after wrongly suggesting he was complicit in the gassing of badgers.
Mr Dyer said: “It’s a huge honour to become chief executive of the Badger Trust at such a critical time. For too long badgers have been exploited, abused and killed and I look forward to leading the Badger Trust and working with its thousands of supporters across the country. The ultimate aim is to help find a long term solution to reducing bovine TB, which is both good for farmers but also provides these wonderful animals with the long term protection which they truly deserve.”
Opponents of the cull are ramping up the pressure on the Government to abandon its cull policy ahead of a possible roll out of shooting to new areas. Pilot culls have already been carried out in Somerset and Gloucestershire as part of moves to combat rising rates of bovine TB which can be spread from badgers to cattle. However, campaigners claim shooting the protected animals is ineffective, inhumane and expensive. They believe efforts should be targeted at vaccination and farm bio-security measures to tackle the disease.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is expected to announce new cull areas this spring. Devon and Cornwall are both regarded as hotspots for the disease. Mr Dyer’s appointment has been widely welcomed by cull opponents. Badger Trust chairman David Williams said: “The Badger Trust has the knowledge, experience and support to ensure that badgers will always have a voice. With the appointment of Dominic, we’ve ensured that their voice will be heard loud and clear, from the countryside to the halls of Parliament. Dominic is immensely knowledgeable and has proved himself a powerful advocate for all wildlife – we’re delighted to have him on board.”
Brian May, Queen guitarist and founder of the Team Badger movement, said: “Dominic’s work in the last two years, speaking up against the persecution of British wild animals, has been an example and inspiration to us all.”
“Dominic is a great champion, orator and naturalist,” added television wildlife expert Chris Packham. “With his appointment we can be sure that the Badger Trust will exercise the force required to finally put an end to this sorry and sad affair.”
In October, Mr Dyer retraced the allegations he made against Mr Kendall after making a number of comments on Twitter, television and during public appearances on the illegal gassing of badgers. Mr Dyer suggested on more than one occasion that Mr Kendall not only knew about the illegal gassing of badgers at 14 farms in the South West but was complicit in it. He later issued a statement on his website withdrawing the allegations and apologising to Mr Kendall.
He said he “made a number of unsubstantiated allegations about the knowledge and complicity of the National Farmers Union and Mr Kendall in the gassing of badgers, for which I had no foundation.. He wrote: “I withdraw those allegations, and I apologise unreservedly for making the comments in question.”