PAUL MURPHY MP
Why I’m against the badger cull
Bovine TB is a terrible disease. Last year alone over 9,000 cattle were slaughtered in Wales and the Government estimates that the cost to UK taxpayers will reach £1 billion over the next ten years. However, whilst is vital that we tackle this dreadful disease, I am not convinced that proceeding with a cull is the right approach.
Our response to Bovine TB must be evidence-based. After 10 years work testing and researching culling, the Independent Scientific Group concluded in 2007 that ‘badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.’ More recently, Lord Krebs, the leading scientist in the field described the Government’s plan to shoot badgers as a ‘crazy scheme’.
It makes no sense to proceed with a cull that has no scientific basis, may not be effective and could in fact make matters worse by increasing the spread of Bovine TB in the short term. Instead, I believe that to bring this disease under control, we must implement the stricter management of cattle movements and prioritise badger and cattle vaccinations. As a result I voted against the cull and I will continue to urge the Government to take a science-led approach to dealing with this terrible disease.
Pilot culls are now under way and it is important that once these have been completed Parliament has the opportunity to consider the results before any decision is made to extend the measure. That is why I have signed EDM 299, which calls on the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to bring this matter before the House of Commons before making any decision on a wider roll-out of a badger cull. It is only right that the Government gives MPs the chance to scrutinise the evidence and to vote on the issue before any further culls take place.