Thank you for your enquiry regarding the article ‘Government told gassing badgers would be better way to tackle bovine TB’.
I note the comments of Mr Derek Mead, President of the Badger Welfare Association whereby he states:
“He says the association has access to farmers with the necessary field craft skills to be able to identify those badger setts likely to contain infected animals.
The setts could then be sealed off and the occupants killed with exhaust fumes”.
As you know, I am a qualified mechanical engineer with 30 years experience within the industry therefore, feel I’m more than competent to inform you that fumigation (gassing) of Badger Sett’s is not a simple task as Mr Mead would have readers believe. There are so many variants that must be considered before administering any gas into an unknown volume of area such as a sett in order to achieve the concentrations of gas required to cause death. The ‘field craft’ skills required by farmers must be of a high level as DEFRA’s own scientist cannot agree as to whether Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning can be a successful method nor humanely achieved. I assume Mr Mead’s reference to “exhaust fumes” he means by use of the generator as the primary plant machinery with the internal combustion engine to produce CO, however, I will make you aware that petrol & diesel contain other irritants which will also cause immense suffering to badgers.
I can understand the current Government’s reluctance of CO gassing given the enormity of risk to life on humans as following any gassing, the sett’s must be ventilated afterwards and proven confirmation that no contaminants remain within the sett and this can only be achieved by the use of electronic scientific measuring instruments.
It remains my professional opinion that fumigation (gassing) by carbon monoxide of badgers within sett’s is impossible to achieve and will lead to a high percentage of badgers suffering permanent brain damage, it is not an effective method and I do not believe nor would I trust a farmer has the so-called field craft skills to carry out gassing, farmers may be good at ploughing fields, sowing seeds, but they certainly are not combustion engineers and I suggest that Mr Mead provide his readers with all the facts on how, if he had his way, gassing would be carried out, by what means, instrumentation and qualifications of these farmers?
It may interest you that on 21st March 2013, I attended a meeting at the House’s of Parliament at the invitation of the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) whereby the farming minister, Mr George Eustice, attended the meeting towards the end and openly stated “he knows nothing about Carbon Monoxide”. It is clear to me that Mr Mead does not know what he is talking about regarding this subject and I would be happy to participate in any debate alongside him, ministers, DEFRA, NFU and prove it is impossible. Mr Mead has demonstrated that his rally calls are simply nothing more than the blind leading the blind. I confirm that culling badgers by means of CO gassing is barbaric & inhumane.
Please feel free to circulate as you wish.