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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The badger cull debate

The debate on whether to go ahead with the cull of badgers in North Pembrokeshire as part of the Labour Plaid Cymru Government's bovine TB control measures took place today. Lorraine Barrett and I had tabled a motion to annul the legislation but the vote was lost by 43 vote to 9 and as a result the cull will go ahead.

Thanks to the wonders of BBC Democracy Live I am able to bring you the entire debate for your edification and delight.

Peter, is there a list somewhere of which AMs traded slaughter for rural votes, or at least of the 9 who stood up to the bullies?
The full list of how AMs voted will be on the Assembly website tomorrow under Business/Record of Proceedings.
I believed badgers to be a protected species which wildlife organisations have worked hard over the years to improve numbers and protect against badger baiting (often helped to enforce with a lot of charitable contributions from the public).

This 'cull' seems to be a big slap in the face to all those individuals and organisations who have worked so hard to get where we are today, especially when the seemingly obvious vaccination approach has not even been put into effect.

I could talk for hours on this topic, however what I think my main point is: If we are to look for a long term solution, the vaccination approach surely outweighs a cull.

Killing the badger species may reduce the TB outbreak for a while (it can be argued, even though a lot of scientific research opposes this), but it cannot rid the country of the disease for good. When it does reoccur, we will be faced with the same predicament and will be in no better position then than we are now.

Surely if we made the steps today to develop an effective vaccine we are laying down the foundation to a progressive solution which could save countless lives (whether human or animal).

The vaccination approach can be developed and improved over the years, whereas the cull is a temporary and cyclical method which seems doomed to fail in the long run.

Yes, developing and implementing a vaccine costs money, but once it is developed it can be re-administered and improved upon in the future, whereas a cull (also incurring expense lets not forget) would have to be repeated over and over with no hope of progression or development whenever TB resurfaces.

In summary, it seems the Welsh government has opted for the quick fix rather than tackling the issue from its roots.
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