Press Release: Save-Me Response to DEFRA announcement



Monumental news from the Government this morning. We will be issuing our (Save-Me Trust) response this afternoon.


overnment announces badger cull exit strategy - FarmeringUK

Our Save-Me response to the new Government announcement today – that badger culling is to be phased out as part of anew strategy to combat bovine TB in UK cattle.

Save Me Trust Press Release
Friday 6 March, 2020

Statement issued today.

We at the Save-Me Trust welcome this ground-breaking announcement from DEFRA, that badger culling, as a strategy for controlling TB in cattle, is to be phased out in the months and years to come.

We have been campaigning for 10 years against the cull, along with various animal action groups, and with great support from the public.

This dramatic change in Government policy is a direct consequence of the Government’s long-awaited response to the Charles Godfray Report, commissioned by Michael Gove, at Save-Me’s specific request, in October 2017. Charles Godfray and his team, over a period of six months, made the first comprehensive appraisal of current techniques for containing the spread of Bovine TB in cattle since culling began, along with trying to discover why they were failing. During their investigations, he and almost all his panel of experts visited Gatcombe Farm in Devon, our own project led by outstanding vet Dick Sibley. The Gatcombe farm project has now become iconic, having achieved TB-Free status in a previously chronically infected dairy herd in just 3 years, without killing any wildlife.

Godfray’s report was measured and thorough, and although some felt he had not gone far enough in highlighting the need for a change in policy, it contained many clues that success could only be achieved by moving the focus to farming methods. It contained the specific assertion that it was a mistake to put too much emphasis on the effect of badger culling. It is to George Eustice’s credit that he and his team read the small print, and have taken this necessary action to redirect efforts towards eradication of the disease within the herd. We thank him for this brave move, and add our appreciation to Michael Gove, who was the first Environment Minister in recent times ever to listen seriously to the arguments against culling, and take the action which has led to this historic policy decision today.

Some attention has been given in the Press reports to the substitution of vaccination of badgers instead of culling, but we believe that in the coming months, the emphasis will be switched to cutting off channels of infection within the herd, rather than depending on bearing down on the so-called ‘wildlife reservoir’. Recent findings, especially our own from our Gatcombe Farm project, have indicated that the true reservoir of re-infection is not in wildlife, but in the undetected TB-infected cattle left in the national herd.

We welcome this brave new policy decision, and believe that it will lead to the alleviation of suffering in badgers, in cows, and in the lives of dairy farmers nation-wide. We remain committed to solving the complex problems of bTB management, through our participation in the rolling out of the Gatcombe Strategy to volunteer dairy farms, beginning later this year.

Brian May and Anne Brummer – for The Save-Me Trust.

For more details of the Gatcombe Project, there is a history to be found on the Save Me Trust website – or the printed version of the history can be obtained from Save-Me for a small donation to the Trust.

The Journey and Insights to the Gatcombe Farm Project

Anne Brummer
Chief Executive Dr Brian May’s Save Me Trust
Telephone: 01344 625800 P
A: Jo Hibburt – email: W


Phil Symes
PR Contact E-mail:

Thanks Linda Geijs for this romance…



Yes – good news for the badgers today, but we all know the battle for their release from persecution is not yet over. These entirely innocent families of peaceful intelligent creatures have suffered the most tragic fate of all wild animals in Britain, to our eternal shame. We humans invaded their homelands, infected them with a dreadful disease endemic to farm animals, and then blamed them for giving the disease back. We then slaughtered them in tens of thousands for this imagined crime, often in the most cruel and painful ways. All this in addition to the appallingly cruel ‘sport’ of badger-baiting, in which dogs were sent down into their setts, and you don’t want to know the rest. And did I say “were” ? Even though this disgusting activity was outlawed years ago, it is still practised in some areas of 21st Century Britain.

Yes … if this edict leads to the deliverance of our badgers, it is indeed a historic decision, and I will die happier knowing we played a part in its arrival. Thanks also for the kind words, Linda. This is a long road.