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Badger cull in Wales
 Started by  GBP-Keith
 23 Oct 2009, 7:40 PM


I was very pleased to hear that two Welsh Assembly Ministers have put in place a motion to annul the proposed badger cull and hope this gets the support it deserves from the other ministers.
 
I wonder if the other ministers have really considered the full implications of any cull or are they merely reacting to try to appease farmers who are quite rightly sick of the existing unreliable TB testing regime and movement restrictions?
 
One does wonder why the Welsh Assembly has opted for a badger cull which is presumably proposed in accordance with Option 1 ( see: http://tiny.cc/VqFfM )
 
The benefits and risks were outlined in Option 1 as follows:
 
Benefits
The methodology has been established and proven in field trials.
Likely to produce overall reduction of cattle TB.
The most likely effects are known.
Issues with delivery are known and can be managed.
May have the support of agricultural industry.
 
Risks
May cause increases in cattle TB in surrounding area.
Disease in badgers and cattle may become less clustered and more widespread.
Ineffective delivery likely to have detrimental effects on cattle TB.
Unlikely to reduce badger population density to below a level at which bovine TB can persist.
Unlikely to have full support of all land owners in the area.
Likelihood of disruption by protestors.
Ecological impacts on other wildlife species.
 
It is easy to see that the risks clearly outweigh the benefits and it is debatable as to whether or not the scientific argument for such a cull will be accepted by the general public, particularly as there is no evidence that a cull will actually lead to a reduction in bovine TB or be an appropriate allocation of public money especially as there is evidence that a cull could even make the situation worse.
 
If the Welsh Assembly government presses ahead with a cull that is not backed up by very clear and sound scientific evidence of success then what will be the repercussions to other sectors of the Welsh economy? The badger is a much loved indigenous species. Have the Welsh Assembly considered what will happen if the cull proceeds and the public decide to boycott the area involved or even Welsh farmed products with possibly devastating effects on the tourism and food industries?
 
I would like to wish the two AM's luck with their stance.


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