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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If only badgers could read

The English Secretary of State for environment, food and rural affairs, Hilary Benn MP, has indirectly set out a very strong case as to why his Welsh equivalent is wrong over the badger cull in yesterday's Guardian. It is almost as if he is offering sanctuary to those in North Pembrokeshire being lined up for extermination:

My decision against a badger cull was made after careful consideration of the scientific evidence, practicality and public acceptability, following discussions with farmers, vets and wildlife groups. We have tried badger culling, but the conclusion of the Independent Scientific Group – based on the evidence from these trials – was that badger culling "cannot meaningfully contribute to the future control" of TB in cattle in Britain.

We are therefore trying an alternative approach to the problem, by investing £20m over three years to develop badger and cattle vaccines. We will start vaccinating badgers in six areas of England, working with farmers, later this year. We are also taking steps to try to reduce the incidence and spread of bovine TB, working with the industry and vets through the Bovine TB Eradication Group, and I have accepted all the recommendations of its first report. This includes providing better support to affected farmers.

I would love to be a fly on the wall if he ever had this discussion with Elin Jones.
You can't take "her" seriously when she dresses like a scruffy badger!
No need to be nasty, Anonymous.

Elin Jones can share my sett any day.
Elin jones is popular with farmers as she wanted but she has ultimately disgraced Wales. Knock on effects will ensue in the tourist trade . The most damning thing is that she has not listened to public opinion. Even in rural areas there is opposition to this. Practically everyone who is not involved in the farming trade is against the cull. A vaccination programme would be much better received.
With the Assembly's new farming programme Glastir which tries to promote biodiversity, this cull is a contradiction of this Assembly directive.
According to the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (report to Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee for England 2008), they have already spent £18million in England to develop and test an oral vaccine. They found that it didn't work. The extra £20million ''investment' you quote, is actually to develop and test an injectable vaccine equivalent. I suspect that would involve trapping all badgers to administer the dose. This is rather a tall order bearing in mind three badger cubs are born to each mother every February, the female badger has a delayed implantation of fertilised embryos and the average lifespan of a badger is just three years. Even if a successful injectable vaccine was available, it would be impossible build up a sufficient immunity in the badger population without selective culling. This was the reason why the oral vaccination failed in Ireland, and the £18million already spent on oral vaccination in England has also failed. The £20million extra 'investment' in England has nothing to do with vaccination against TB, it's just a Nu-Labour PR exercise.
I'd much rather a £20m nu-labour PR exercise than a nat-soc-farmers exercise in unnecessary slaughter.

Thus far, about all the One Wales govt has managed is to slay wildlife.

anonymous 9.11pm, who could give a damn if this oral vaccination has failed or not?
Badgers have a right to live undisturbed.
I will make sure i will do everything to scupper the cullers in north pembs
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