.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Elin and the badger, the cull resumes!

The Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones has today announced that she is to resume her attempt to cull badgers in North Pembrokshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in an attempt to control bovine TB in cattle.

This is despite the fact that the latest bovine TB statistics published on 18th February 2011 by DEFRA show a significant reduction in the number of cattle slaughtered in West Wales over the last two years. Between January and November 2010, there was a reduction in West Wales of 34% over the equivalent period in 2009.

In her statement the Minister says:

After full consideration of the evidence presented to me, including consideration of the responses to the Consultation on Badger Control in the Intensive Action Area (IAA), I have reached the decision to make the Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2011 under section 21 of the Animal Health Act 1981, authorising the destruction of badgers within the IAA (an area of Wales where bovine TB is endemic which includes parts of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion).

The Order will be laid before the National Assembly today with the intention of it coming into force on the 31 March 2011.

This Order will enable a government managed cull of badgers specifically in the Intensive Action Area. This will not be carried out in isolation but alongside the continued additional cattle controls and improved biosecurity measures that have been in place since May 2010.

I am aware that this decision will cause some people genuine concern, but it is a decision that I have taken based on full consideration of the matter, including the substantial scientific evidence available and after careful consideration of the responses to the public consultation.

I would emphasise that the badger remains a protected species in Wales and the prohibitions in the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 remain much in place. Any potentially illegal action will be reported to the relevant authority.

There is no indication as to whether she considered the alternative option of vaccination or what weight she gave to it. In addition she has just refused to answer my question in the chamber as to what reduction in bTB in cattle she envisages arising from the cull.

The order is due to come into effect on 31 March. Given the commitment of Labour and Plaid Cymru to this needless slaughter of a protected species the only options available that may stop the cull now appear to be legal action or a resolution of the Assembly to annul the order.

I envisage a Plenary debate before 31 March and I would urge everybody who agrees with me that this measure is unnecessary to start lobbying their Assembly Members now.
I agree we should lobby our am's in large enough numbers. Not forgetting their minds are set and they have voted in plenary.

As for Elin Jones the people are against the cull in Ceredigion and it will probably allow the Lib Dem to get elected.
hi peter

can you not propose a motion to annul like last time? i seem to remember legislation must be placed before the assembly for a certain time before becoming law - 40 days or something? is she obeying procedure here?
A motion to annul was tabled yesterday but I am not optimistic that it will be passed. This is why I am urging people to lobby their AM.
Your Blog suggests "lobbying AMs".That's OK if you have an AM who works as hard as you Peter, with his or her ears open, but most AMs (especially the Plaid Cymru AMs) are deaf to all lobbying on all sorts of subjects unless the issue is on their personal agenda or presented to them by their Party workers!
I understand that but the only way to get through to AMs that they are swimming against the tide eight weeks before an election is through that sort of mass lobbying.
No surprise here - weeks ago we heard of farmers just outside the IAA having vets visiting to survey for badger setts in some kind of preparation for the cull, so we knew the decision had effectively been made.

Ridiculous, especially as we now have experimental evidence for the fact that vaccinating badgers can reduce TB significantly even in a badger population with 43% incidence of TB - which disproves Elin Jones' claim that vaccination is not an option in an area where she claims 30% of badgers have TB. Note that the map of the 'badgers found dead' survey results published by WAG in annex 6 of the consultation, "Selection of IAPA locations", shows only about 5% of badgers in this part of Pembrokeshire (as opposed to Pembrokeshire as a whole) having TB.

I see there is still no limitation in the Order on how long these people will be able to force their way onto our land to slaughter badgers.

And yes, lobby your AMs. Not all AMs are as conscientious as Peter, but all will respond to enough letters and emails from constituents. Well, it's hard to Elin Jones changing her mind at this point, but *almost* all.

In a 10 e-mail round of verbal tooing and frowing anti-Cull Rhetoric In. defeats Pro-cull Alun Davies am using intellectual argument and rational debate.
The assembly Rural-development sub committee chair was rhetorically outmanouevured as he had no answer to Rhetoric In. other than that he was an 'Individual' and that he was going to vote with the government until the election. Whatever the plenary vote may be.

The colourful Assembly member resorted to a personal insult as he knew that he had no intellectual weight to take on Rhetoric's anti-badger cull stance.
Gavin is wrong to state that only 5% of badgers have bTB in Pembrokeshire. The pathological analysis of the 'badgers found dead study' quite clearly found infection rate is 15% in Pembrokeshire as a whole, and for those inside the IAA, three were tested positive by laboratory culture, and one by microscopy. This was from a sample of 10 dead badgers within the IAA. For Gavin to include samples found on the A487 south west of Fishguard is not correct, but are included in annex 6 of the published results. These fall outside the IAA and his 'this part of Pembrokeshire' phrase is disingenuous.
But I did not state that "only 5% of badgers have bTB in Pembrokeshire." I stated that the badger found dead survey result published by WAG themselves "shows only about 5% of badgers in this part of Pembrokeshire (as opposed to Pembrokeshire as a whole) having TB". (WAG further argue that the results of the survey should be doubled, so a measured 15% implies overall 30% prevalence, or 5%->10%)

See this map:

(taken from page 17 of this bigger document:

e.g Inside the circle (allegedly the recommended cull area, although the actual IAA goes up tot he coast) you'll see only two out of 40-odd badgers where found to have TB. Similar results if you take the whole page.

These are the results published *by* *WAG* in their 'selection of IAPA locations.' Maybe you are seeing more than Ido, but I don't see where in there you see the A487 or Fishguard. Nor do I see any region anything like the size of the IAPA (or IAA - Dr Glossop hates it being called a 'Pilot') where there would be only 10 badgers sampled. Where did you get your figures from? I hope I've shown where mine came from.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?