Network For Animals have today approached UK Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens, to request an update on his December 2014 DEFRA report, which advised the Pilot Badger Cull in Gloucestershire should be cancelled in 2015 if improvements are not made on specific criteria.
As reported in December, the letter was part of a suite of information published as UK parliament closed for winter recess. The full text of our letter reads as follows, and we look forward to publishing Mr Gibbens’ reply upon arrival:
OPEN LETTER TO NIGEL GIBBENS, UK CHIEF VETERINARY OFFICER
23rd June 2015
Dear Mr Gibbens,
As the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, the final point in your official DEFRA review of the 2014 Pilot Badger Culls advised that culling shouldn’t continue in Gloucestershire in 2015 without improvements being made to contractor training and assessment, improved operational planning, monitoring and delivery:
“7. Given the lower level of badger population reduction in the Gloucestershire cull area over the past two years, the benefits of reducing disease in cattle over the planned four year cull may not be realised there. Culling should continue there in 2015 provided there are reasonable grounds for confidence that it can be carried out more effectively that year through measures of the kind mentioned in paragraph 2…
…2. Continued action is needed to increase levels of confidence in the effectiveness of any future culls, for example through contractor training and assessment, improved operational planning, monitoring and delivery.”
Please can you describe how the criteria you have specified have been improved, or alternatively if the cull will now be withdrawn from Gloucestershire in 2015 following your advice?