Badger cull – ask DEFRA’s Chief Vet questions

Lots of us have been discussing the government’s plans to cull badgers next year.  In July, 38 Degrees members voted to start a campaign to stop the plans from going ahead.

The government says that its plans will help tackle bovine TB, which is a serious problem for dairy farmers. Many of us think that it wouldn’t be right to cull badgers under any circumstances. Equally, lots of us think that if the government’s plans were backed by the science, and would really help solve the problem of bovine TB, then a badger cull might be acceptable.

But so far we’ve agreed on this – the scientific evidence from a decade of trials doesn’t support what the government is presently planning.  Oxford academic Lord John Krebs led a government inquiry into the link between badgers and cow tuberculosis. He says of the government’s plans: “I can’t understand how anybody who’s looked at the science would say this is a good idea.

The government’s Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs is responsible for tackling bovine TB and planning the pilot badger shoots.

They’ve sat up and taken notice of the 30,000-strong petition we’ve built so far – DEFRA’s Chief Vet, Prof Nigel Gibbens has offered to answer 38 Degrees member’s questions about the scientific evidence on which the government is basing it’s plans. This will be a great opportunity to quiz DEFRA on what they’re planning.

Do you have a question for Prof Gibbens about the science around badgers, culling, vaccines and bovine TB?

Add your questions below before 5pm on Tuesday 13th Sept, and the 38 Degrees office team will put together those that get to the heart of the issue and ask DEFRA for answers.

We’ll publish the questions and answers on our website on Thursday morning and 38 Degrees members will have a chance to ask follow-up questions by adding comments. DEFRA’s Professor Gibbens will answer as many of these follow-up questions as he can on Friday.

You can also sign the petition or ask your friends and family to sign it using our simple tool.  We’ll be handing in the petition to DEFRA on Tuesday 20th September, so please spread the word!