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Fears over research into gassing of badgers

By WMNAGreenwood  |  Posted: October 08, 2013

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Allowing badgers to be gassed to control bovine TB would be a “shocking new moral low in the Government's disastrous cull policy”, campaigners have warned.

The pilot cull in West Somerset, designed to test the effectiveness of shooting free-running badgers, came to end last night.

It’s feared that the number of badgers culled may be significantly below the 70% of the badger population – some 2,00 animals – required, putting the success of the operation in jeopardy.

Animal welfare campaigners have now voiced fears that gassing the animals – a method favoured by some farmers – may be permitted after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed it researching whether it was a “realistic or humane method of culling”.

Wendy Higgins, communications director for Humane Society International UK, said: “Death by gassing can cause considerable animal suffering and if Defra resorts to this it will be a shocking new moral low in the Government’s disastrous badger cull policy.

“The gassing studies referred to in Defra’s 2005 review make for distressing reading, animals including cats, dogs, guinea pigs and monkeys enduring anything from tremors and vomiting to heart attack, suffocation, sudden urination and defecation, coma and death.

“Many of the gassing methods used have quite rightly been declared inhumane. But even with carbon monoxide there is a significant risk of suffering.

“Badger setts are very complex in structure, making it extremely difficult to achieve lethal gas concentrations sufficient to kill all the animals inside, or indeed kill them quickly.

“Many badgers could die a long, lingering and extremely unpleasant death and any cubs could be orphaned and left to starve because typically they are less susceptible to the gas.

“Badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire have already been subjected to indiscriminate shooting, it really would be immoral to subject more of these wonderful creatures to gassing.

“Instead of looking for more ways to kill badgers, DEFRA must surely acknowledge what is now beyond doubt – the badger cull is unscientific, unjustified, unethical and unnecessary.”

Defra said the research into gassing was “predominantly desk-based” and did not involve animals.

A spokesman said: “Initial research into the use of gas as a potential culling method is under way in line with the 25-year strategy which sets out plans for more sophisticated TB testing, developing badger contraception and badger and cattle vaccines, tighter cattle movement controls, and badger culling.

“It is not possible to say at this stage if or when gassing is likely to be a realistic or humane method of culling.”

UPDATE: controversial badger cull to resume in days

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21 comments

  • mmjames  |  October 08 2013, 10:41AM

    Free2opine Tuesday, October 08 2013, 10:26AM Thanks for the heads up - glad to see it's NEW ;)

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  • Free2opine  |  October 08 2013, 10:26AM

    Oh, incidentally, that report is NEW.....2013 in case groundnutcase thinks it is OLD histrionics. No matter that the previous information, from the Times, can easily be found in the BMA records and is not just available to the reporter, who is being disregarded ,because they are somehow associated with the Countryside Alliance.!!!!

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  • Free2opine  |  October 08 2013, 10:18AM

    mmjames .....You are almost certainly correct about bTB going unchallenged in humans and undetected. If you notice the Doctor did specifically state YOUNG patients with bTB, so I assume he is only bringing to the fore the fact that these young people will not have received the BCG vaccine. They made no mention of older patients!! Regarding the PCR tests on setts, I expect you have seen the results from some trials in NCBI. where the setts didn't prove positive for bTB, but, a slightly less well known strain called Mycobacterium gordonae , a non tuberculous mycobacteria. Even less likely to be picked up, unless doctors are specifically looking for it.

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  • mmjames  |  October 08 2013, 12:31AM

    groundnut Monday, October 07 2013, 9:56PM You can call it that. I call it indiscriminate slaughter of wildlife.. and TB will spread in cattle as a result of this botched /Incompetent Killing." ................. Only way that will happen will be due to infectious badgers - therefore more than the proof needed for far more stringent culling.

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  • mmjames  |  October 08 2013, 12:28AM

    Free2opine Monday, October 07 2013, 9:25PM More than 20 young British men and women ........................Official figures obtained by the Times. .............. Those figures are likely the very tip of the iceberg due to the way the stats are NOT updated when the diagnosis of 'human' Tuberculosis is changed to that of Zoonotic Tuberculosis. Change of diagnosis occurs when the 'usual' 3 pronged chemo fails to work and is tweaked to even more powerful and dangerous drugs. Anyone who's been faffing around with infected badgers, whether 'rescuing' bodies or vaccinating live ones is now in danger. Tuberculosis is a slow burn disease and can present as an abscess anywhere in or on the body. Time will prove.

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  • groundnut  |  October 07 2013, 9:56PM

    Free2 opine. pretty old news you keep dragging up - and dominic Kennedy . founder member of the countryside alliance. But badgers are not being culled in Somerset or Gloucestershire to curb tb. This is listed as a Government shooting exercise. No TB testing on corpses. And after week one , they were concerned that it had failed. So they carried on indiscriminately killing. then later in the exercise they were even more concerned they had missed their killing targets. So they got a retired DEFRA cage trapper to work for the NFU laying cages. And if the cages were not found by the protesters first they blasted hell out of the badger in the cage. Good sport takes a trained Marksman for that. So just a killing exercise- you can be forgiven for killing perhaps one week, but if you carry on indiscriminately week after week and then cage trap to try and get your number of kills higher. Then nothing to do with TB. just Killing enjoyment by some. They must be sad people. Certainly the Farmer /Landowner loses respect for that. Find a scientific way out why dont you. Politics and OP are struggling . The hearts and minds of many decent folk in this country are now angry at this style of TB solution, and see its failure and incompetence. You can call it that. I call it indiscriminate slaughter of wildlife.. and TB will spread in cattle as a result of this botched /Incompetent Killing.

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  • Free2opine  |  October 07 2013, 9:25PM

    Dominic Kennedy Investigations Editor Published at 12:01AM, September 28 2013 More than 20 young British men and women have been infected with potentially fatal bovine tuberculosis, and a specialist warned yesterday that unless it is brought under control in wildife, many more people could be at risk. Badgers are being culled in the West Country to try to reduce the spread of the disease in cattle, but the danger to human health has been less well documented. Official figures obtained by the Times.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 07 2013, 8:58PM

    And you know all about attitude Darren don't you. You have so much of it!

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  • Charlespk  |  October 07 2013, 8:55PM

    Oh I'm so sorry Vulcan did you want shorter words?

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  • vulcan  |  October 07 2013, 8:55PM

    That wasn't fair was it? I post a reply and you remove it

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