No winners in badger cull vote

No winners in badger cull vote

Yesterday I joined the Team Badger MP briefing session.  Mary Creagh MP and Caroline Lucas MP together with the Adrian Sanders MP, the sponsor of the Committee Room in which we met, and other Members of Parliament spoke about their reasons for voting against the cull that afternoon.  The motion ‘That this House believes the badger cull should not go ahead‘ was subsequently defeated by 298 votes to 237 in a heavily whipped vote.  There were no winners in the badger cull vote, a message repeated in a Press Statement from the Wildlife Trusts.

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:

 “Today’s whipped vote for a badger cull follows last year’s free vote when MPs voted overwhelmingly against a cull. Democracy does matter and clearly a lot of rural MPs are wary of voting against a cull due to strongly held views in the farming community. We respect the motivations behind those people because bTB affects their livelihoods.

 “Those who have been involved in this debate for years all know that opinion is divided.  That is except in the team of scientists who ran the extensive field trials of culling who are united against it.  This the key point. Lord Krebs, Prof. Bourne and Prof. Woodroffe have repeatedly stressed there is no new evidence to show that badger culling will make a measurable contribution to tackling bTB and indeed that culling runs the great risk of spreading the disease from disrupted social groups of badgers.

The Wildlife Trusts believe the right answer would have been to listen to these scientists who have nothing to gain through expressing their view.

Stephanie Hilborne added:

Culling is not the right solution – creating more problems than it solves – and the anticipated £4m policing costs from the first two culls alone would be much better spent on vaccination, biosecurity and improved testing and controls on cattle movement. Yet again in this tragic drama no-one has won and, until real leadership is shown, no-one will.  A badger cull is a serious distraction from tackling bovine TB in a strategic and coherent way.”

On the same day as the vote, an influential cross-party group of MPs published a report urging the Government to produce a strategy for use of the badger vaccine. The MPs conclude that ‘an effective programme of badger vaccination in areas where badgers are the suspected source of TB in cattle would be expected to reduce transmission of the disease between the species’.   The Committee expresses disappointment that, after three years of the vaccine being available, the Government does not have a strategy for how it will be deployed.

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Posted on June 6th 2013 under Badgers and Bovine TB, Leading For Nature, News & Press. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Comments on this post

  • Colin Davies

    It’s irresponsible to farm cows and cattle without using a bTb cattle vaccine.

    • Gordon

      As there is no legal bTB vaccine at the moment for cattle even the most careful farmers can not use such a product.

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