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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Badgers and the long grass

The new Environment Minister, John Griffiths has just announced that the badger cull in North Pembrokeshire has been put on hold whilst he reviews the available evidence behind that proposal.

In the chamber I said that this corrects the mistakes of the former Rural Affairs Minister in taking a political decision to carry out a cull based on a misinterpretation of the science. However, we cannot lose sight of the need for effective action on bTB and that is why the government need to look afresh at the available vaccines.

These are the main sections of the statement:

Our Government commitment is to carry out a science led approach to evaluate and review the best way of tackling bovine TB. My aim is to ensure that the existing measures continue to be fit for purpose.

To this end I have agreement from Cabinet to commission an expert panel to peer review the scientific evidence base regarding the eradication of bovine TB in Wales.

Its eradication is a long term commitment that will require the application of new technologies and scientific developments as they become available and, which the Welsh Government will continue to monitor.

I have asked the Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor John Harries, to oversee the review..

He will appoint an independent panel to undertake the review. The panel will be chaired by an independent expert with the other members being recognised experts in areas relevant to this review.

The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales and her office will help provide the evidence and any technical expertise that is required to support the review.

The review group and its terms of reference will be established as quickly as possible to ensure that the Wales TB Eradication Programme does not lose momentum.

Professor Harries and the expert panel’s chairman will report their findings to me. A timetable for the completion of the review will be established with the formulation of the panel and its terms of reference.

We have seen positive signs of a reduction in bovine TB over recent months. It is too early to establish if this is a long term trend, and the impact of bovine TB continues for those farms suffering its consequences. It therefore can not justify a reduction in the existing measures in place to eradicate TB.

During the review, the current regime of cattle surveillance and controls will continue. This includes the additional cattle disease control measures, introduced on the 1 May 2010, in the Intensive Action Area. There will be no badger cull in the Intensive Action Area while the review is being carried out.

The Welsh Government remains fully committed to eradicating bovine TB and this review of the scientific evidence base will contribute to that objective.

Well done John Griffiths for providing a good strong lead.
But a word of caution.
Beware the evidence and technical expertise of WAG officials, especially the office of the Chief Veterinary Officer, after what has happened so far.
" Independent " should mean exactly what it says.
The people of Wales will be watching very closely and at the end of the process will want to continue to watch badgers in North Pembrokeshire, as will the tourists who visit the area to experience the vast array of wildlife and in many cases provide much needed valuable revenue to help support struggling farms.
and well done Peter Black for holding firm on badger culls.
Chris Wood
Well said both. As farmers contribute only 0.5% to the Welsh economy, I can't understand why they are courted so.

On the other hand tourism including ecotourism contributes 26 times more to the economy - 13.3%.
Interesting.!! It seems that the countryside and wild life contribute far more to Wales than agriculture.

I agree with the first blogger - the panel must be INDEPENDENT and drawn from outside Wales and truly experts and internationally respected.
Surely using the Cheif Vetanary Officer in any capacity cannot be deamed indipendant. They have a "reputation" to maintain and will not enjoy being proven wrong if the evidence proves they are. They always agreed with Elin Jones 100% despite evidence from other trials and the Irish disaster showing culling does not work. With vaccination being used in other areas why not use it here? If indeed agriculture only brings in 0.5% of the economic income why do we spend so much money on it? Along with wind farms this cull will kill the Welsh tourist industry and people will see the farmers as the villans in both acts.
In my youth we lived on a large farm in Pembrokeshire, Each year we use WW2 gas canister to gas the badgers, god knows how many we killed according to the chap in the village it was due to Badgers and foxes killing lambs more then TB but the boss stated it was TB.

After four years of this we had little or no badgers left yet had one of the biggest out breaks of TB in milking cows

He then stated that the pea crop last year had been affected by Crows eating seeds, so he got five 45 gallon drums cut the tops off and filled them with sacks of currents.

We then poured cheap brandy and of course whiskey on these currents and left them for twenty four hours, we then went out over the fields throwing these currents down, along came the pigeons and crows, we then got every one together with pickaxe handles and a trailer behind a tractor and these birds were unable to fly as they were so drunk, we must have killed thousands of birds. Same as we go around every spring in the woods and shoot up into the nests to break the eggs and kill the young.

Gosh how farming has changed.
Post a Comment

<< Home

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