Statement from Dr Brian May

We are concerned and deeply disappointed that the Government has issued 11 new Badger Cull licences to add to the 10 already existing.  We have always opposed badger culling because of the cruelty and inhumaneness of free shooting badgers in open fields at night, as confirmed by the government's own Independent Expert Panel.

But we oppose culling also because of the strong scientific evidence that it is not effective, and may make matters worse for farmers and cattle, in addition to its tragic effect on our native badger families. 

We have been working with farmers and vets to find a true solution to the serious problem of Bovine TB, and have helped establish protocols that can eradicate TB from a herd without killing a single badger, even if those badgers have tested positive for the disease.  This is a crucial signal to farmers all across Britain. Culling badgers is not the solution. No matter how many badgers are killed, this defunct policy will never meaningfully contribute to the eradication of Bovine TB.  It is now beyond doubt that re-infection occurs because of latent pathogens left in the herd after skin testing. 

The Government have been unable to produce any evidence that culling badgers is working as a solution to bTB, and science clearly indicates it will never work, yet they continue to pursue the policy. Over 12,000 badgers have died for nothing already, at least 22,281 and 33,841 will suffer the same fate before the culls end this Autumn, risking local extinctions of a protected species, at a huge cost to the British taxpayer. Some years ago the RSPCA was criticised for labelling the cull wildlife genocide, but this is now, tragically, the way this policy is clearly heading.  

This disaster simply cannot be allowed to continue. The result is devastating for badgers, farmers and cattle.  We urge Michael Gove to step in and stop the cull and refocus efforts and finance on finding a real viable solution to the problem of Bovine TB in cattle. 

Dr Brian May  

Save Me Trust