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Torbay MP Adrian Sanders secures badger cull debate

By Herald Express  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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TORBAY MP Adrian Sanders has helped secure a six-hour debate in Parliament into the planned badger cull.

The Lib Dem politician was part of a cross-party delegation of MPs, supported by campaigners , including Queen guitarist Brian May, opposed to the controversial move aimed at tackling TB in cattle, who won the Commons time slot next Thursday, October 25.

The decision to give the go-ahead to two pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset has sparked protests, and led to more than 100,000 people signing a petition launched by the campaigning rock-star.

If deemed to be successful, the cull is set to be rolled out to other 'hotspot' areas for bovine TB, which could include South Devon. In the South West almost a quarter of farms were under movement restrictions due to TB last year.

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Mr Sanders said: "I am delighted we are going to get a proper debate. Nobody is under any illusions how devastating bovine TB is to cattle, farmers, and farming communities. We all want to crack this but this is not the best way."

Tory MP for Totnes Dr Sarah Wollaston said: "Over the past decade bovine TB has been allowed to spread out of control across the UK. Last year in Devon alone 5,653 cows were destroyed, bringing devastation to farming families.

"Sadly, badgers are an important source of TB and live for many years after infection, spreading TB. In the future I hope there will be an oral bait vaccine for badgers and a safe effective vaccine that our farmers are allowed to use for cows.

"In the meantime we should do everything we can to prevent the disease spreading."

"Vaccination cannot treat a diseased badger. It is time to show the same compassion for our farmers and livestock as we do for badgers and answer the questions about whether a cull can help bring this disease under control."

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  • badgerbelle  |  October 22 2012, 1:50PM

    26,000 cattle each year slaughtered because of bTB. Now compare this with the 90,000 slaughtered because of mastitis, 31,000 because of lameness and 125,000 because of infertility. Why are these numbers never mentioned by the government? Because they can't blame it on the badgers! An Independent Scientific Group concluded that "culling badgers could make matters worse". This blood-thirsty government simply want another blood-sport to entertain them. Many farmers are against hte cull, the general public is 98% against a cull and Science is against the cull, but Cameron agreed this cull with his farming/landowning mates before he was elected. Let's hope this debate doesn't turn out to be the same farce as the Circus debate last year when No.10 personally stepped in, threatening those that supported a ban on wild animals in circuses and despite an overwhelming cross-party support for a total ban, brought in a licensing scheme which will do nothing for animal welfare. Jim Paice of Defra was in charge then (now sacked) but due for a knighthood next year evidently. Cull the Coalition, not the Badgers!!

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  • AwrightGuv  |  October 18 2012, 7:27PM

    Very well done, Adrian, for taking such a robust stand on this issue.

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  • Bleach  |  October 18 2012, 4:35PM

    Politicians like to be seen "doing something". Even if it's the wrong thing, so long as they're "doing something". No mention by her that the last trials, which were spread over ten years and by far and away the most comprehensive trials ever undertaken, found that culling was extremely likely to make things worse. But that's ok, because at least she's "doing something". Anyway, it's starting to look increasingly unlikely that the cull will go ahead because, as reported in the Guardian today, the costs are starting to spiral. Whoever thought that would happen?

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  • Clued-Up  |  October 18 2012, 3:27PM

    Well done Adrian Sanders! The UK's leading scientists all say the proposed badger slaughter is "mindless" and won't result in any significant improvement in bTB rates. The public are vehemently opposed to the cull (polls record up to 97% being against). We don't want our taxpayers' money being used to police the killing of badgers. I respect Sarah Wollaston as an honest politician and would ask her to review the evidence, following which I hope she will change her position. Cattle bTB is a problem affecting a MINORITY of farms (perhaps 20%) in the UK's FEW bTB hotspot areas (90% British farmland is free of bTB, I understand). Badger populations extend across the British Isles with few exceptions (the Isle of Man has no badgers, for example, but it does have bTB). Take these sets of facts together and you've got good convincing proof badgers are pretty near irrelevant to the spread of cattle bTB. Next, look at what worked successfully in the past. This country near eradicated bTB at the end of the 1960s by instituting a complete ban on the movement of CATTLE from bTB affected areas into clean areas. Those controls were allowed to lapse later and the disease crept back. Thirdly, look at when bTB rates really kicked off. They did so from 2002. That was when farms restocking after Foot & Mouth were allowed to import cattle from across the UK, including those areas where bTB was becoming a problem.

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      In order to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis, a cull of badgers is being proposed. Is a cull the best way of controlling the disease?