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Call for Paterson to 'emerge from his sett' and face disquiet on culls

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 14, 2013

The Shadow Leader of the House called for Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to appear for an 'urgent debate' on the 40 further culls scheduled to take place

The Shadow Leader of the House called for Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to appear for an 'urgent debate' on the 40 further culls scheduled to take place

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Labour has accused Environment Secretary Owen Paterson of "hiding" from a parliamentary inquisition into the "travesty" of the South West badger culls.

The Government is coming under increasing pressure to halt the culling policy, the cornerstone of its plan to halt the spread of TB in cattle that is devastating the region's farming industry.

In a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament this week, even Conservative MPs – broadly behind the policy – indicated they are against it.

The next day, Angela Eagle, Labour's Shadow Leader of the House, called for a debate in the Commons following the faltering "pilot" culls, which will inform a Government decision on whether to sanction up to 40 culls in bovine TB hotspots. The Somerset and Gloucestershire culls fell short of the 70% target for badgers to be killed.

Addressing Leader of the House Andrew Lansley, Ms Eagle said: "It is becoming increasingly clear that the cull is an expensive disaster for farmers, wildlife and all taxpayers.

"Since the extensions to the cull were announced, hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions and many experts have demanded that the Government rethink their approach.

"Some MPs who were in favour of the cull are changing their minds, but all the Environment Secretary does is ignore the facts, hide behind written ministerial statements and assert his personal belief that it is working.

"Does the Leader of the House agree with the swelling numbers on his own backbenches who recognise that this cull is a travesty?

"Will he arrange for the Secretary of State to emerge from his sett and come to the House for an urgent debate, in Government time, on the future of the 40 further culls that are currently scheduled to take place?"

In response, Mr Lansley said: "I stress that they are pilots and give us an enormous amount of information about the mechanisms by which a badger cull can be pursued.

"Colleagues in the House and people outside need to be aware of the enormous cost and the tens of thousands of cattle that have been slaughtered as a consequence of the failure to tackle bovine TB previously. That has to be tackled, and the question is how we can do it most effectively."

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5 comments

  • janetleeds  |  December 16 2013, 4:34PM

    Defra already had this information from the scientists they commissioned to look into the problem and from the RBCT carried out previously. They studiously chose to ignore it, choosing instead to make a futile gesture to the NFU by 'appearing' to be doing something, thinking it would be a cheap option. It has unsuprisingly been proved to be futile, cruel and expensive so for goodness sake climb down and drop this pointless badger cull.

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  • barryterry-2  |  December 15 2013, 8:21PM

    Owen Paterson you fooled all of the people for some of the time but now I think its time you did a Redgie Perrin before they hang you from those goal posts

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  • Jake_Blake  |  December 15 2013, 2:51PM

    "Since the extensions to the cull were announced, hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions" Blatantly not true. "and many experts have demanded that the Government rethink their approach." Yep, all two of them. And their positions were aligned against the cull to start with. "Does the Leader of the House agree with the swelling numbers on his own backbenches who recognise that this cull is a travesty?" Yes once again, all two of them!!

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  • Clued-Up  |  December 14 2013, 5:59PM

    You wonder how CAN ministers have enough bare-faced cheek to spout the nonsense they do? Mr Lansley said the pilot culls "give us an enormous amount of information about the mechanisms by which a badger cull can be pursued" ... He knows - and we know - DEFRA was told repeatedly by those knowledgeable about badgers before the cull even started that free shooting badgers would fail. Why can't DEFRA listen to expert advice? Does Paterson think DEFRA should personally conduct "trials" costing £millions of tax-payers' money to find out whether 2 + 2 = 4?

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  • Clued-Up  |  December 14 2013, 5:57PM

    You wonder how CAN ministers have enough bare-faced cheek to spout the nonsense they do? Mr Lansley said the pilot culls "give us an enormous amount of information about the mechanisms by which a badger cull can be pursued" ... He knows - and we know - DEFRA was told repeatedly by those knowledgeable about badgers before the cull even started that free shooting badgers would fail. Why can't DEFRA listen to expert advice? Does Paterson think DEFRA should personally conduct "trials" costing £millions of tax-payers' money to find out whether 2 + 2 = 4?

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