DEFRA scientists are still considering gassing badger setts as a method of controlling bovine TB in the future.
Nigel Gibbens, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, said the fumigation of badger setts was and still is considered to be inhumane in the way that it was previously used.
“Cyanide gas is not a very nice way to die,” said Mr Gibbens. “But you can’t – and we shouldn’t – rule out humane methodology being developed and deployed in the future.”
“We are looking at research of different methods of deploying gas in a humane way that would be effective because that would bring real benefits, but we’re not there at the moment.”
Nigel Gibbens, UK’s chief veterinary officer
Carbon monoxide has previously been identified as the best potential fumigant for badgers in their setts in terms of feasibility and humaneness.
“We are looking at research of different methods of deploying gas in a humane way that would be effective because that would bring real benefits, but we’re not there at the moment,” said Mr Gibbens.
When asked how long before such a policy could be introduced, he replied: “That’s the nature of research. I don’t know.”
Mr Gibbens said research was also continuing into an oral badger bait vaccine and methods of identifying diseased badger setts, but the trials so far had given mixed results.
Keep up with the latest news on the fight against bovine TB