Greg Mulholland – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Greg Mulholland on 2014-06-26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential suffering felt by badgers through gaseous methods of slaughter.

George Eustice

In August 2013, we commissioned new research into alternative methods of culling badgers.

The first step involved reviewing and updating the ‘Review of effectiveness, environmental impact, humaneness and feasibility of lethal methods for badger control’ published in 2005. The review was completed in September 2013.

Following research carried out as a result of Lord Zuckerman’s review in the 1980s, we would not support the use of hydrogen cyanide gas due to humaneness concerns. However, we are considering potential humane alternatives.

In October and November 2013 we carried out initial trials of nitrogen-filled foam to analyse its dispersal in an artificial sett-like environment. These trials did not involve the use of active setts or tests on live animals.

Further research is now planned into the use of carbon monoxide as a potential sett-based means of humane culling.