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Wednesday 24th October 2012 | 15:48
Caroline Lucas MP, who is proposing the motion for tomorrow’s debate, said: “The delay until 2013 is welcome news, but we now need to set this in stone and stop the cull altogether. We don’t need any more trials or pilots – scientists are queuing up to warn that badger culling is not the solution”
A debate in Parliament tomorrow will add to the growing pressure on the Government over its controversial badger cull policy following the announcement that the cull is to be delayed until 2013.
The debate on a motion proposed by Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party) was green-lighted by the Backbench Business Committee after an e-petition calling on ministers to stop the cull and implement a vaccination scheme attracted over 150,000 signatures.
The Government confirmed last July that it would introduce a major cull of British badgers in an attempt to control the spread of bovine TB in cattle – despite a weight of scientific evidence exposing the method as ineffective.
Opposition to the plans has been fierce, with the RSPB, the Badger Trust, Animal Aid, Team Badger and others presenting strong evidence against a cull and putting forward alternative approaches to tackling bovine TB.
Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion MP and vice chair of the all party parliamentary group (APPG) on animal welfare, said:
“The Government’s decision to delay its ill-advised badger cull until 2013 is a win for the campaigners who have fought so hard against this policy, but what we now need to do is set this in stone and stop the cull completely.
“This is what I’ll be calling for in the debate tomorrow, which is a crucial opportunity for the voices of all those who signed the e-petition against this reckless cull to be heard in Parliament – and for MPs to state their own position on the record.
“In choosing to plough ahead with the barbaric cull in our countryside, the coalition government has shown complete contempt for scientific evidence on bovine TB.
“A nine year randomised cull trial by the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB – costing £50m and destroying 10,000 badgers – concluded that ‘badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain’.
“Even Lord Krebs, the Government adviser responsible for a 10-year experimental cull in the 1990s, has rejected the method – with his name appearing alongside more than 30 leading animal disease scientists warning against a cull in a letter to the Observer last week.
“All this shows that we don’t need any more trials or pilots – the belief that badger culling represents an effective solution to the problem of TB in cattle has already been disproven.“
Given that eighty per cent of the transmission of bovine TB, a respiratory disease, is thought to be caused by cattle-to-cattle infection, it’s about time the Government paid far more attention to the crowded conditions imposed on these animals by intensive dairy farming.”
Caroline Lucas concluded: “Rather than cruel and ineffective mass culling, restrictions on cattle movement and contact between badgers and cattle should be given high priority, in addition to far greater efforts to introduce a vaccination programme and improve testing.