Network for Animals' Campaigner Paul Herring today requested clarification from the UK's Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens, on his views and involvement in the continued and expanded badger cull in 2015.
Mr Gibbens expressed concern in late 2014 about the continuation of a cull in the county of Gloucestershire, and in an earlier letter to Network for Animals, made clear that he would advise not to authorise a further cull in the county, if lessons were not learned.
3rd September 2015
Dear Mr Gibbens,
In your 7th July response to my open letter of 23rd June, questioning a repeated cull in Gloucestershire, you stated that:
“…areas where I will be expecting to see evidence of lessons learned will include training and assessment, operational planning, monitoring and delivery.
An authorisation letter for a 2015 cull in Gloucestershire will be issued only if Natural England is satisfied that the cull company’s operations plans demonstrate that it has taken on board lessons from its culling experience in 2014, and is in a position to deliver a more effective cull in terms of numbers of badgers removed.
If on reviewing the plans I am not satisfied that this is the case, my advice to Natural England will be not to authorise a cull in Gloucestershire in 2015.”
Please can you clarify whether you advised Natural England to authorize the cull in Gloucestershire in 2015, and what lessons you believe the culling companies have learned from the 2014 cull?
Please can you also advise why you feel it is justified to expand the cull into a third county, when culling costs are estimated at £7,000 per badger, versus the humane, proven, and uncontroversial alternative of badger vaccination, costing just £100 per badger?
We will publish Mr Gibbens' response upon arrival.