TB debate announced

PARLIAMENT WILL debate the Government’s TB eradication programme, including planned badger culling. 


The debate, which has been triggered by a public e-petition asking for further discussions on the controversial government policy to eradicate bovine TB, will take place on October 25th 2012.


NFU president Peter Kendall said the parliamentary debate offers a fresh opportunity for the science to be fully explained and for any misinformation that exists to be corrected.


“Badgers play a huge part in the cycle of reinfection for TB in cattle; this is why a cull of badgers is a regrettable but absolutely necessary part of this TB eradication package,” he said.


Kendall also pointed out that the new policy on TB “has already been thoroughly scrutinised and been upheld after two legal challenges both in the High Court and the Court of Appeal”.


However, campaigners and scientists have questioned whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that a cull of badgers will help the disease – TB has devastated herds in the past few years with 34,000 cattle culled in Great Britain last year alone.


In a letter to the Observer, 30 scientists, including those involved in previous culling trials, urged the Government to “reconsider its strategy”.


The issue of TB has created not just debate, but heated confrontations between farmers and campaigners. Earlier this week the RSPCA was also accused of bullying farmers by threatening its Freedom Food members who take part in the culls with suspension from the scheme.


The RSPCA has welcomed the news of a debate. “This cull is a huge mistake and in persisting along this misguided path the Government is ignoring both science and the public,” said chief executive Gavin Grant. “Studies have shown it will be of little help in controlling TB in cattle and could even make things worse in some areas. Thousands of badgers, many of them healthy, will be wiped out needlessly