NBA welcomes key badger cull monitoring appointment
THE National Beef Association has welcomed the appointment of Professor Christopher Wathes to oversee the two English pilot badger culls.
Farming Minister Jim Paice announced that Prof Wathes had been appointed as chairman of the independent panel of experts that will oversee the pilots when he unveiled their location – West Somerset and West Gloucestershire – last week.
Prof Wathes is a research scientist with interests in the environmental biology and management of farm and other animals. He is Professor of Animal Welfare at the Royal Veterinary College and the current chair of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC).
The independent panel of experts will oversee and advise on the monitoring of the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of controlled shooting during the six-week pilots, which will commence in the ‘early autumn’.
The group will then report back to Government. Its report will largely determine whether the policy is rolled out to a further 10 locations a year from 2013.
Other panel members will be appointed shortly.
NBA TB committee chairman Bill Harper said: “He’s got all the credentials. I don’t really know the guy but I understand he will be straight with the job so we can’t complain. It is someone with a level of competence and a status that means he will do his job properly. It’s fine, not a problem.”
Professor Wathes said: “Badger culling is a very sensitive issue which is why this group will be completely independent in the work they conduct.
“I will be joined by a selection of experts from a range of disciplines and our job will be to carefully consider the design and conduct of the pilots to enable a thorough examination of the humaneness, safety and effectiveness of the culling method being used.”