Sunday, April 13, 2008

More on the Badger Cull.

Assembly Minister, Elin Jones has really started something with her decision to slaughter thousands of badgers in a determined attempt to eradicate Bovine TB in Wales. The proposal is before the National Assembly for debate on Tuesday, and it could turn out to be quite lively. We knew that there could be some on the Labour benches opposing the Government's proposal (especially those sitting in close proximity to Lorraine Barrett. I didn't expect a ferocious condemnation of the proposal from the Liberal Democrat benches. But that's what it looks as if we're going to have.

Peter Black has used his blog today to launch a full blooded assault on what he calls a 'stock letter' for Parliamentarians - which was probably written by his Lib Dem colleague, Mick Bates. He doesn't mention Mick by name, but I can't see who else could have been the author of this letter which has been written up as the Lib Dem's position statement and has so angered Peter. The serious matter of how we tackle the Bovine Tb crisis in the countryside in very important. Pity if its overshadowed by another internal row amongst the Liberal Democrats.

I'm in Cardiff on Tuesday, and will try to catch this debate if I can organise my day's activities. Just for once, a debate in the Assembly could appear on the radar of the UK media.


Frank H Little said...

But what do you say to Green Man's comment on Peter's blog?

Anonymous said...

A "full-blooded assault" by Peter Black would be a terrible thing. The expression "savaged by a dead sheep" springs to mind...

Glyn Davies said...

Frank - I dislike this idea that we 'blame' the badger. The position is that the badger is no more to blame than other bovine animals. In fact I agree with those who say that most TB cases are a result of cattle to cattle transmission. But if we are going to eradicate Bovine Tb, we have to slaughter all cattle which are suspect (which we do) and all badgers (which we don't). I also accept that there is no absolute proof about any of this - beyond circumstantial. This is why I believe we should operate a pilot sheme. And its no good running a pilot similar to the Krebs trials. If this is going to happen, it has to be over a large area, with as much natural boundary as possible - sea and major rivers etc. If England were now to go ahead as well, which is widely expected to happen now that Wales has decided to take this step, will be much more questionable in my view. It was a big call by Elin Jones, very big, and I'm not sure what the fallout is going to be. Its what I would have done, and its what I've been calling for.

anon - surely you mean savaged by a dead badger!

Anonymous said...

Reports from Ireland have said that despite the virtual extermination of the badger population, bovine TB is at records levels. The misguided idea that badgers spread this agricultural disease appears just that, misguided. How many more illegally culled badgers must we continue to see ‘dumped’ on our country lanes to appear as road kill?

Bovine TB is most usually spread by the cattle themselves. Farmers should take responsibility for their own short-comings before attacking innocent protected animals.

Trevor Lawson of the Badger Trust stated "Badgers are a scapegoat for bad farming practices and an inadequate bovine TB testing regime. Our findings make a mockery of the demands for badger culling made in Britain by the National Farmers' Union and other organisations."

Glyn Davies said...

roman - I don't know where you derived your statement about Ireland from. When I visited Ireland and discussed this with Irish politicians and vets, I was told that the number of Bovine Tb cases had fallen hugely.

I've heard many stories about badgers being illegaly killed and dumped on the roadside to appear as road kills. But I've never heard of any proven case. And I really cannot see the point. I accept that when the Assembly Government wanted 400 road kills to assess the corelation between Bovine Tb in cattle and badgers, there could have been a theoretical benefit in that the proof would have been available sooner, but that position is long gone.

Trever Lawson is a very persuasive man, but he is not able to persuade vets or governments - and he is backed up (not saying its anything to do with him personally) by some very nasty people.