Updating Michael Gove today


Brian May and Michael Gove

Brian May and Save Me today have been updating Michael Gove, MP, on their program of improved cattle testing, vaccination availability and licence breaches at DEFFRA.

22 Oct 2017 by Ben Glaze Deputy political editor

The music legend and the Cabinet Minister discussed a review of the science behind the killing programme

Badger - Getty imagesBadger: This year’s cull is under way (Image: Getty)

Queen legend and animal rights campaigner Brian May has met Environment Secretary Michael Gove as anti-badger cull activists intensify their fight to stop the killing programme.

The rock star was invited to Whitehall to discuss the Government-backed cull with the Cabinet Minister – and supporters later hailed a “major step forward” in their battle to halt the bloodshed.

May told the Mirror that Mr Gove “rocks”. He added: “For Michael to agree a review of the bTB policy is amazing.”

Brian MayBrian May
May said the Cabinet Minister “rocks” (Image: Getty)

“We cannot know the outcome but we are confident that we will have all the information in one place from all sides to present and consider, which is both exciting and brilliant.”

Mr Gove praised the guitarist’s “passion and thoughtfulness”, tweeting: “Let’s look at the science together to find the right way forward.”

Badgers are blamed for fuelling the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle – and up to 33,000 face being slaughtered in this autumn’s cull in 21 kill zones across eight English counties. Up to 33,000 of the creatures face being shot this year.

Speaking after the meeting, Nigel Palmer of May’s Save Me Trust said: “Michael and his team at Defra (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have agreed to look at the science behind the badger cull with us. This is a major step in looking at the complexities of the current bTB policy.It is by no means a guarantee to the end of the cull, but we believe a review of the science in this formal way can only be a positive step for us all. A promising start – we are encouraged and believe that there is more to come from our lengthy discussions.”

Badger Trust chief executive Dominic Dyer, who also met Mr Gove, described the meeting as “good natured and constructive”.

Michael GoveMr Gove pledged to “find the right way forward” (Image: Getty Images Europe)

He added: “These meetings never last long enough but we left Michael Gove with a lot to think about. We had the distinct impression he really wants to get to grips with the issue and make a difference rather than just stick to a failing policy that is causing more problems than it is solving.”

Trust chairman Peter Martin told the top Tory the science behind the cull “was based on a deep seated and misinformed opinion among many farmers and landowners that badgers were to blame for bovine TB and that killing them was the only solution”. He added: “We pointed out that TB is a complex problem and that a crude, indiscriminate cull was a rather grotesque, medieval solution that had somehow survived into the 21st Century.

“The culls are in fact a costly and dangerous distraction from getting on with the real business of eradicating TB.”