Labour condemns badger cull as new minister takes charge

badger in grass
Badgers consider the implication of the cabinet reshuffle…..

The new environment secretary, Liz Truss, has come under pressure from Labour to stop the badger cull due to resume in West Somerset and Gloucestershire later this year. Labour MPs said they were appalled that Ms Truss intended to continue with a “discredited, unscientific, inhumane and ineffective” cull.

But Ms Truss – appointed by David Cameron in his reshuffle – has signalled there will be no change of policy and the Tory-Lib Dem government will carry on culling.

The pilot culls in 2013 were assessed by an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) as ineffective. In 2014 the IEP will not be used. When challenged in the Commons by Labour’s Maria Eagle, Ms Truss said the job had been taken away from the scientists and handed to Natural England.

Chard town councillor Graham Forsyth said:

Graham Forsyth
“The brand new environment secretary is seeking to continue the lie and push ahead with the destruction of badgers ” Cllr Graham Forsyth

“The brand new environment secretary is seeking to continue the lie and push ahead with the destruction of badgers because farmers will not accept the science and she will only accept a political solution that keeps her party’s countryside voters in place for the general election.

“The cull cannot be rolled out in other areas because it is a complete and utter mess and classified by the IEP as ineffective. It will continue purely as a face saving exercise for DEFRA and the NFU

“In reality, the problem is in the name: bovine TB. Bovine means cattle. It’s a cattle problem and needs to be sorted out in cattle. It is easy to see how intensively reared cattle, who communicate by breathing up each others noses, can spread this disease to other cattle. Years ago, officials at MAFF (before it became DEFRA) concluded that the vector of infection from badgers to cattle is so small it can be ignored.

“So how can the problem be solved? Well, it’s all down to money. Someone will have to pay for the bio-security improvements needed as industrial farming takes hold and it’s clear farmers do not want to do that. This is the real reason the badger cull is so popular with them.

“I can never understand the reasons for the very high number of cattle movements taking place, the highest in Europe. Why oh why are so many cattle being moved around the country when the bovine TB testing methods are weak and error prone?”


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