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

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Questioning the badger cull

Here is the record of questions to the Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones on Wednesday, shortly after she announced her intention to resume the cull of badgers in North Pembrokeshire and parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire:

Peter Black: I wish to focus on the welfare of protected species and, in particular, the Order that you have announced today for the control of bovine tuberculosis in the north Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire area. You will know that, between January and November 2010, there was a 34 per cent reduction on the previous year in the number of cattle slaughtered as a result of TB. That appears to be a long-term trend. Therefore, in making the decision to bring forward this Order, what estimate have you made of the reduction in the incidence of TB that will come about as a result of the cull that you are proposing in this area?

Elin Jones: I am not sure how you can say that the statistics from January to October of last year signify a long-term trend. I must look at the longer-term trend of the disease. There have been times when fewer cattle have been removed than at other times during the trend of an increase over the last 10 years: 2006 was a case in point, and, as the statistics outline, 2010 may be another. I will not make judgments on how the statistics over that period relate to a longer-term trend. We have to assess the longer-term trend over the longer term. That is what I have to do. It is too early to say whether the cattle testing and removal measures that we have put in place as a Government have had a direct impact on the short-term statistics to which you have alluded.

Peter Black: What is the estimate?

The Presiding Officer: Order.

Lorraine Barrett: First, I thank David Melding for his kind remarks with regard to the work that we have all done on freedom food and I congratulate you, Minister, on many of the initiatives that you have brought forward in the field of animal welfare. However, you will not be surprised that I am going to express my disappointment at reading today that you have brought forward this Order for the killing of badgers. I take the point that you made to Peter Black, and I was going to raise the same sort of issue. How can you be sure which of the measures that you are bringing in will be the effective measure? I know that you want to take a holistic approach, but I feel, and I wonder whether you agree, that by bringing in the badger cull now, you will not know whether the earlier measures that you put in place, which have shown some success, are the effective ones. I make this plea to you: will you please postpone the culling of badgers until you have more effective and long-term data for the measures that you have already brought in?

Elin Jones: I know that there are Members in the Chamber and people in Wales who are going to be disappointed with the Order that I have laid today, and who will fundamentally disagree with the decision that I have taken. However, I have not taken the decision lightly; I have considered the matter fully, and it is not a straightforward or easy decision to take. To remove an animal disease, you need to remove all sources of infection. The disease needs to be tackled in the cattle population, for which we have put together extremely stringent measures, especially in north Pembrokeshire. However, it also has to be tackled in the badger population. Leaving a source of infection in that area does not allow for the long-term eradication of this disease, and that is what I have already set out as the aspiration that we in the Chamber hopefully all share, namely that at some point we want to have fully healthy cattle and badger populations in Wales.

So *neither* question was answered, and the Presiding Officer slaps down the questioner for trying to insist?

This is why I (reluctantly) voted 'No' in the referendum, there really is not adequate scrutiny of Ministers. Sadly much of the press also seem to be heavily under Ministerial power as well.

PS - the estimate for reductions in TB in the IAA as a result of culling is published here:

But they will not be able to measure this, of course, in the absence of any control area.
Much of the land in West Wales is pretty good, soil is good and could be used for other land uses rather than cattle farming, more environmentally sustainable also. Without the pollution and degradation or loss of natural or semi-natural ecosystem.
Its about time Wales looked forward and embraced an environmentally sustainable way of farming and economically sustainable.

Also why is it that in areas where Cattle farming does not exist their is no incidence of tB in badgers?
Post a Comment

<< Home

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