MP under fire over badger cull
AN animal protection society has criticised MP David Heath over the badger cull.
Mr Heath, who is also minister of state for DEFRA, has come under fire over the release of a report assessing how humane the cull is.
Humane Society International asked to see a DEFRA document that assessed badger suffering, but the society claims that DEFRA refused to supply it for nearly eight months and, when it did, the majority of the document was blacked out.
It claims that Mr Heath misled a fellow MP who asked why the document had been censored. Mr Heath told Adrian Sanders MP that releasing the details could adversely affect public safety or damage the environment.
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But Gerrard Tracey, of the Information Commissioner's Office, ruled on August 6 that Mr Heath's explanation was not valid. He said that the regulations did not allow for this to be withheld.
A statement from the society said Mr Heath had "misrepresented information".
Mr Tracey has ordered DEFRA to provide the information withheld to be released to the society.
A DEFRA spokesman said: "We have been granted an extension and are considering whether to appeal the Information Commissioner's decision. The humaneness evaluation criteria, as agreed with the independent panel of experts, will be published along with a full account and assessment of the pilot culls once they have concluded."