Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 14:36 UK

More opposition to badger culling

A badger
Opponents say a badger cull could make bovine TB worse

Six Assembly Members have joined calls for plans for a badger cull in Wales to be abandoned.

The group, who include four Labour AMs, echoed a Commons motion signed by nine MPs praising Westminster Rural Affairs Minister Hilary Benn.

He has refused to back a cull in England to tackle bovine TB because he said it could make the situation worse.

The Welsh Assembly Government said it had an "evidence-based programme" "based on the needs of Wales".

The Welsh assembly statement of opinion was proposed by Lorraine Barrett, Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth.

It has been supported by three other Labour AMs - Irene James (Islwyn), Lesley Griffiths (Wrexham) and Christine Chapman (Cynon Valley) - Liberal Democrat Peter Black (South West Wales) and independent Trish Law (Blaenau Gwent).

The statement said that "evidence shows a cull would not help eradicate bovine TB but could make matters worse" and urged Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones to consider the evidence on which Mr Benn made his decision.

Animal husbandry

It also called on Ms Jones to rule out a cull in Wales, to "return to a scientific-evidence based approach" and to "continue to promote other effective sustainable measures to tackle boving TB, such as better animal husbandry and tighter controls on cattle movements."

Of the nine MPs who signed the Commons motion, eight of them were Welsh Labour.

The Welsh MPs to sign the motion are Alun Michael (Cardiff South and Penarth), Martyn Jones (Clwyd South), Hywel Francis (Aberavon), Madeleine Moon (Bridgend), Paul Flynn (Newport West), Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd), Don Touhig (Islwyn) and Chris Bryant (Rhondda). It is also signed by Conservative Worthing MP Peter Bottomley.

The assembly government is planning a pilot badger cull, but has yet to announce the area in which it will take place.

A spokesperson said Wales had an evidence-based programme of action to pursue the eradication of bovine TB "on all fronts" which was based on the needs of Wales.

She said: "It is a comprehensive programme which deals with cattle surveillance and control, change to the compensation regime, identifying and removing all on-farm sources of infection and supporting the development and trial of bovine TB vaccines."

The cull is supported by the Farmers' Union of Wales, which said the decision not to go ahead with it in England was disappointing.


SEE ALSO
Benn confirms TB cull rejection
07 Jul 08 |  Science/Nature
Report backs limited badger cull
27 Feb 08 |  Science/Nature

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