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Cameron: 'We'll see the badger cull through'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 27, 2013

Comments (29)

David Cameron has promised to stick with the “tough decision” of culling badgers to halt the spread of tuberculosis in cows in the South West, amid fears the controversial plan is failing.

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference this weekend, the Prime Minister made a passionate defence of the policy – arguing culling would also ultimately lead to a healthier badger population.

The Conservative leader brushed off concern a “pilot” cull in Somerset is failing to kill enough animals, which is vital to the plan working, telling the Western Morning News: “We’ll see those decisions through.”

Bovine TB, which many argue is spread by badgers, has crippled dairy and beef farming in the Westcountry, where thousands of sick cattle are slaughtered each year.

Labour, which has promised to halt the expansion of badger culling if it sweeps to power in 2015, suggested last week that ministers would pull the plug on the programme.

It followed the Western Morning News revealing that one of the two “pilot” culls in the South West risked failing as only a handful of badgers are being shot daily.

The level of killing is significant as at least 70% of badgers in a culling zone have to be shot to bring about a requisite reduction in infections. Sources have suggested marksmen are falling well short.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has promised that as many as 40 cull areas could eventually be up-and-running, with shooting likely to take place in Cornwall and Devon at some stage.

In a briefing with regional newspaper reporters based at Westminster, Mr Cameron indicated the Government was not preparing to roll-back from the plan – and hit out at Labour’s position.

He told the Western Morning News: “For 13 years Labour did nothing about this. They kept putting off difficult decisions. This Government has taken the difficult decision, which is to go ahead with the pilot culls on the basis that every country in the world that has had a TB problem has had to look at quite drastic measures to deal with the problem in wildlife as well as in livestock. So we’ve taken the tough decisions, we’ll see those decisions through.”

Despite protesters warning of whole local badger populations being wiped out, the Prime Minister went on to argue the policy was “right for badgers” also suffering from the “miserable disease”.

He said: “What we want is not just healthy cattle but healthy badgers.

“We have to remember that TB is a miserable disease for badgers to have as well as cattle to have. If we don’t act, we are on track to spend a billion pounds on TB and cattle – we have already spent £500 million. This is an enormous budget item. So what we are doing is right for taxpayers, but also right for farmers, and also right for badgers.

“The countryside has my full support in this issue, and I keep in close contact with Owen Paterson. Of course it’s difficult, of course there are many who oppose this, but in politics it’s about doing the right thing.”

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  • kkflyingscots  |  September 30 2013, 11:19AM

    when do we start the politician cull ????? seems everyones life will be better if we erradicate these vermin, people will be healthier & financially better off, animals will be safer , the economy will start to recover once all the leeches who make bad decisions with public money & hammer the taxpayer, the air, water & food will be cleaner & healthier once all the corporations who damage or poison them are fined more than they have earned in five years for putting the public at risk. p.s i forgot ALL laws that restrict the citizens rights abolished. (sounds like a win win situation if we go on a massive politician cull in ALL countries)

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  • weterthntwest  |  September 28 2013, 9:32AM

    http://tinyurl.com/pxz8pqz Vote for war with Syria was whipped with a three line whip. How could any government that would like to call itself ethical or humane try to pressure parliament to vote for war against individual conscience? David Cameron needs to go before he does any more damage.

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  • weterthntwest  |  September 28 2013, 9:28AM

    http://tinyurl.com/l2cekor Freedom of Information Request - an insight into the transparency of the cull

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  • weterthntwest  |  September 28 2013, 7:58AM

    Patrick Barkham's book, Badgerlands, (http://tinyurl.com/orrucck) is an excellent source of information and interesting anecdote. In it, he identifies "animal torture porn" referring to how dogs are used to tear wildlife apart for entertainment. The prime Minister is a committed advocate of fox hunting which uses dogs to tear apart foxes (even cubs, while the mother fox watches). David Cameron cannot claim to be humane as long as he tries to promote fox hunting, which has been banned in England because of its cruelty.

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  • weterthntwest  |  September 28 2013, 7:44AM

    David Cameron has not made any decisions, he is simply doing what the NFU has told him to do. Labour actually listened to the expert scientists who have been researching this for years (http://tinyurl.com/qb85cvr). A child would have no difficulty grasping the science behind how indiscriminate culling spreads the disease through the population and into new areas, but it seems to be beyond Cameron's understanding, or accountability to the public. What he is trying to persuade us to believe is a shabby fabrication. The brutal deaths of these animals will not help farmers, badgers or tax payers. Northern Ireland has reduced the rate of bTB through stringent movement restrictions alone, without culling wildlife. Vaccination and disciplined movement restrictions will control bTB and be a wise use of finances, but such insightful leadership is beyond the ability of this despised NFU patsy. There is huge support for vaccination with wildlife trusts providing vaccinators to help farmers for just the cost of the vaccine (£30 per badger) and we need to do this to control bTB as it will be far more effective than culling.

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  • John Bull Design Ltd  |  September 27 2013, 10:07PM

    No, David dinosaur. You won't see it through. Enough bravado and talk of having what it takes to see though difficult decisions. We see through your "difficult PR mantra." Go.

    |   25
  • phkrhuob  |  September 27 2013, 9:53PM

    What a dick!

    |   18
  • mmjames  |  September 27 2013, 9:07PM

    twigcat Friday, September 27 2013, 7:46PM "@mmjames Are you stalking me? You're being weird (and just a little bit creepy)." ........... It's completely dishonest of you to accuse me on a public forum of posting LIES WRT zTB and then not produce ONE of them when requested to do so. I have NOT posted any lies WRT zTB....... END OF!

    |   -22
  • twigcat  |  September 27 2013, 7:46PM

    @mmjames Are you stalking me? You're being weird (and just a little bit creepy).

    |   15
  • mmjames  |  September 27 2013, 7:10PM

    animalperson Friday, September 27 2013, 10:50AM "Just heard the screams of a dying badger after being shot and then having dogs set onto it - ................. A healthy badger would NOT be out anywhere near 10.50am ....... nor would a licensed culler be looking for a target near that time. I suggest you phone the police to uphold the law that has been in place for many many years to protect badgers from baiters.

    |   -19