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Saturday, April 05, 2014

UK Government u-turn on badger cull does not go far enough

Over at the Western Morning News at least one Tory MP is quite upset at the UK Government's decision not to roll-out the badger cull beyond the pilot areas.

West Country MP, Neil Parish has labelled the Liberal Democrats "turncoats" for hailing "victory" in halting the expansion of badger culling in the South West they previously supported. His problem of course is that the evidence is against him and the cull, whilst the whole experiment has turned out to be a fiasco.

It is little wonder that even those misguided Liberal Democrats MPs who once supported this cull, are now deeply sceptical of it.

In Wales an alternative approach has been taken. We have introduced a vaccination programme instead. The Minister for Natural Resources and Food has just reported on the second year. He has told the Welsh Assembly that in 2013, over 1,350 badgers were successfully trapped and vaccinated in the Intensive Action Area. In 2012 just over 1400 badgers were vaccinated.

The latest TB figures indicate that the level of Bovine TB in Wales has significantly reduced and that new incidents of the disease are down by nearly a quarter on the previous year.  The full report is available here.

In the circumstances the question is not why has the government not extended the cull but why has it not abandoned it altogether?
The link you gave is to the report in Welsh - for non-Welsh speakers is there an English version please?

Also do you know of any particularly "user-friendly) comparisons of the Welsh and English measures taken to control bTB please?

I know the Welsh system bTB tests all cattle annually whereas the English one only does this in high risk areas; also the Welsh have provided on-farm assistance with improving bio-security, something English DEFRA are only just introducing. There will be many other features of the Welsh system of which I'm ignorant. Would appreciate any information you have which might help me understand why Wales has been so successful in reducing cattle bTB ... and England's improvements are on a smaller scale.
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