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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A science-led approach to tackling bTB

I had a question to the Rural Affairs Minister today in which I challenged her as to why she was not consulting on the vaccination of badgers in the Intensive Control Area in North Pembrokeshire and also on the format of the on-line consultation. I will publish here the record of that exchange when it become available tomorrow.

Following my question Rhodri Glyn Thomas stood up and referred to the position of the Liberal Democrats on this issue in the UK Government. However, judging by this article by Andrew George, who leads for the party in the House of Commons on rural affairs, things are not so straightforward.

He writes: The Liberal Democrats have always taken a pragmatic and evidence based science approach to these very difficult matters. As the Lead for the Party in the House of Commons on Defra matters, I support the Coalition Agreement that any response to this ongoing and worsening problem is science-led and not based on sentimentality towards either cattle or badgers. Whatever decisions are ultimately taken, both in terms of the tools available to the Government and the individual decisions to grant licences for either the use of vaccine or, if it is approved, badger control, the Government must not make the situation worse.

I am no less sentimental about cattle than I am about badgers. An effective TB control policy will be good news for both. Failure to control this will continue to result in a growing and avoidable cattle and wildlife body count in our countryside. It is having a disastrous impact on many livestock farms.

The largest wildlife experiment conducted by a UK Government (i.e. the Krebs Trials) recently concluded that licensing farmers to cull badgers “would entail a substantial risk of increasing the incidence of cattle TB and spreading the disease”. At the same time, the remaining trail of a new badger vaccine continues.

Bovine TB is a massive challenge for Government and for the farming community. Above all, we must not make matters worse.

I am massively encouraged by that conclusion.
I didn't know whether to post this comment here or on your previous blog on the nanny state but I would like to point out that I consider the WA responsible for my increasing consumption of tobacco over the past 2 plus years since Elin Jones announced a badger cull in Wales. This decision has stressed me almost to my limit and I just find smoking comforting while on my computer for hours daily fighting the proposed badger cull.
Like you I find Andrew Georges' comment encouraging and would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for being one of the leading lights in a small group of AMs against a cull.
Derek Hector
Has WAG looked at the Australian Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign (BTEC)? Said BTEC essentially rendered AU free of TB in cattle.

Everywhere is different, but worth "a butchers".
Truth is the rural affairs ministers does not really want to consult on it cus it may turn out to have findngs which are different from her ambitions.
People assume that its all about sentimental stuff over the badger cull, hardly .Its not the soppy sentimentality meat eaters give their pet dogs but about emphasising a wild animals right to live without persecution
"I would like to point out that I consider the WA responsible for my increasing consumption of tobacco over the past 2 plus years since Elin Jones announced a badger cull in Wales."

If by "WA" you mean "Welsh Assembly" you should know that Elin Jones, while an AM, made that announcement in her capacity as a Minister of the Welsh Government.

Please could you blame the correct body, the Welsh Government, for your problems, and not the "Welsh Assembly" which is a meaningless term.
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