Press Release: Dr Brian May’s Save Me Trust petitions against expansion of badger cull


Badger Cull expansion enquiry petition

Dr Brian May’s Save Me Trust has today appealed for a public enquiry into the current badger cull with a petition posted at:

The petition is set up to challenge the UK Government’s ruling announced by Farming Minister, George Eustice, to allow badger culling in 11 new areas as well as licences also being re-authorised in 29 existing areas which together will allow badger culling to take place in 40 zones with up to 63,000 being shot.

The Save Me Trust has responded saying: ”The current badger cull policy is inhumane, ineffective, financially unsustainable and can’t possibly succeed in its goal to reduce bovine TB in cattle” as well as criticising the Government on the fact that the Government called for a review of the policy in 2018 yet has failed to respond to the Godfrey Review before issuing the new licences.

A previous petition supported by the Save Me Trust against the cull, which ran from March to September 2013, drew over 300,000 signatures.

Dr Brian May himself writes:

“It is now apparent to all concerned with fighting the scourge of TB in cattle that the current policy of culling badgers is not benefiting anyone, least of all the farmers. The head of the recent Government expert review panel on Bovine TB, Charles Godfrey, has announced this week that he does not believe the cull is working, and that is demonstrably inhumane as well. We, based at Gatcombe Farm in South Devon, have proof on a small scale that a policy of blocking transmission routes in the herd, without interference to wildlife, can change a chronically TB infected herd to a herd that is officially TB free within 3 years. Under the leadership of our gifted vet, Dick Sibley, we’re about to test the new combined strategy on multiple farms in Wales, to confirm the results.

“We believe there is now no justification for continuing with a failed policy, and the country must now commit to a new policy of action on farms. This includes new strategies on birthing conditions, feed, testing, and, crucially, slurry management.

“The badger cull must end now.”

The petition sets out ten points which it feels need to be urgently addressed in a public enquiry:

1. The Government is allowing badger culling in 11 new areas. Licences have also been re-authorised in 29 existing areas, badger culling will take place in 40 zones.

2. The Government can’t identify the disease in cattle. Cattle-to-cattle transmission is responsible for the majority of TB incidents in the herd. The current test is around 45% effective in the field. The Government is irresponsible to launch a cull on badgers without a bTB test that identifies the disease accurately.

3. The Government called for a review of the policy in 2018 yet it hasn’t responded to the Godfrey Review before issuing the new licences 4. Badger culling is financially unsustainable and it’s not helping farmers as it won’t stop herd breakdowns.

5. The Independent ISG report said the cull was inhumane. the report was held up by Owen Paterson and this issue was never addressed. It continues to be inhumane.

6. bTB remains latent in the herd and is spread in slurry to other cattle and no system has been put in place to reduce the spread through this. Thousands of tons of slurry are produced by cattle every hour of every day. Anaerobic macerators should be fitted on every farm to neutralise the slurry by killing bTB.

7. Leading Government Scientist, Lord John Krebs, called it a ‘crazy scheme’ and said that ‘the Government is embarking on a scheme that isn’t backed up by science.’

8. The Government has embarked on a costly eradication programme with no proven transmission route for the disease and no proven track record for success.

9. TB in cattle soared by 130% in one of the longest-running cull zones this year, showing the policy is failing. Government data from the Gloucestershire pilot cull zone for 2018 show a 130% increase in confirmed bTB cases in cattle after 6 years. (OTFW)

10. Only a public enquiry can answer these questions.

Why is this important?

The current badger cull policy is inhumane, ineffective, financially unsustainable and can’t possibly succeed in its goal to reduce bovine TB in cattle.

It’s bad for badgers, cattle, farmers and the public.


Further information: