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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Anti-terrorist legislation used in pursuit of badger cull?

I know that this is the second post today regarding the badger cull in North Pembrokeshire but I thought it was important to draw attention to this article by a local farmer in today's Western Mail, which alleges that the Labour-Plaid Cymru Welsh Government are using anti-terrorist legislation so as to enforce their policy of exterminating badgers in North Pembrokeshire:

THE Welsh Assembly Government’s badger slaughter programme is, in the words of local police, “getting out of hand”.

The international news has shown coverage of riot police assisting two masked WAG officials entering land without the owners’ agreement.

Police were also stopping motorists nearby and searching them under anti-terrorist legislation. I had understood that anti-terrorist legislation was to be used in matters of State security. It is a sorry affair when one is termed a terrorist for trying to defend a species against counterproductive extermination.

The WAG is scaremongering by saying there are animal rights activists targeting pro-cull people as if it is only the extremists who are against the cull. It ignores the many good people, pensioners, doctors and local politicians amongst them who are appalled by the cull. The Wildlife Trust of South West Wales says they support the WAG’s “other measures” but “are very disappointed that the Minister is not proposing the use of vaccination”. WAG and NFU aside, it is hard to find any credible organisation supporting it.

England is watching how the Pembrokeshire slaughter goes before they decide how to manage their issues in Dorset. What happens here has ripples nationwide.

Assessing the success of the slaughter would be fine were that the only measure. It isn’t. There are other wiser measures too, some of which are already in place. Defra figures show that in the 10 months to February 28, the number of Welsh herds under restrictions fell from 1,983 to 1,117 – 43.7% down – indicating that bTB has peaked and the “other measures” are already solving the problem.

“We must do something to combat bTB,” farmers say on television, and this is true but it is worth quoting Chris Cheeseman, author of the ISG report, who asks why anyone would want to do something when evidence shows that very thing will only make the situation worse?

As the article points out the Coalition Government in Westminster are also considering a cull of badgers in England. The question is have they really thought through the consequences and taken all the evidence into account?

Do Liberal Democrat Ministers really want to defend the sort of authoritarian and disproportionate measures being put in place by a Plaid Cymru Minister here so as to achieve this pointless policy objective?
I can confirm that I know personally two people who were questioned and searched in Haverfordwest by policemen who claimed to be acting under the anti-terrorism act.
Peter, I know you have always regarded the Welsh Government and NFU as "credible organizations", but the news that you no longer see the current Westminster Government as a "credible organization" even though they are pursuing the same policy as we are in Wales, does you great credit. Following the praise you were exuding only a week or so ago, such a rapid U-turn is almost as spectacular as the turnaround time for a minister in the Treasury.

As I said here the ConDem government in Westminster is not, as you would like your less awell informed readers to think, merely "watching how it goes ... before they decide". They are not "considering a cull of badgers". They have already decided to follow our lead:

DEFRA farm minister Jim Paice has confirmed that badgers will be culled to combat bovine tuberculosis in cattle. A targeted cull of badgers will take place once the right "hot spot" locations have been identified.

A DEFRA spokeswoman added, "The coalition has committed itself to badger control in areas of high incidence. The coalition includes culling in a package of measures."

MH, your bravado does you no credit. I happen to disagree on one policy. That does not mean that the whole credibility of the government is called into question. On culling they are absolutely wrong and would do well to learn from the fiasco here in Wales.
MH quotes Jim Price but I read an interview with Caroline Spelman in Farmers Guardian where she stated that she would base her decision on the science and would wait for the results of the Wales pilot before deciding.I guess they are on the one hand saying all the right things to their farmer supporters whilst knowing in their haert of hearts that Culling is wrong on scientific,financial and moral grounds and in case you didnt know it doesnt work either
Vaccinatioin is the only long term way to control the 6-9% of infections due to badgers.
My bravado, Peter? You were the one who tried to make out that the only credible organizations you could think of that support a cull are the WG and NFU.

As I've said, you're entitled to your views ... but you keep turning a blind eye to others that don't share your views. I merely reminded your readers that the ConDem coalition wasn't (as you claimed) just thinking about doing it, but has committed themselves to do it.
No I do not believe I have ever said that 'the only credible organizations you could think of that support a cull are the WG and NFU'. That is clearly not true. I have said that they are wrong but that is different.
It may be constructive to read this article by Anthony Gibson, one time a NFU officer in the Southwest, now a journalist.


This is from the farming section of the Western Morning News. So Gibson is speaking to the "trade" and is more open that the editor is in the rest of the paper, where the editor wants a cull.

I own woodland with a badger sett within, and these badgers will probably be off to the "big sett in the sky".

This is an interesting part of Anthony Gibson's article...

"I bow to the judgement of those who argue that, psychologically, for the sake of the farmer victims of the disease, any cull has to be better than no cull, but I do fear that any benefits in terms of the underlying incidence of disease will be patchy and short-lived."

I don't usually post anonymously, but here I will post as Urban Leprechaun.
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