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Bovine TB
Pilot badger culls have ‘decisively failed’, say MPs

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MPs voted by a majority of 219 to one in support of a motion stating that the pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have ‘decisively failed’ after a debate in Parliament on March 13. Although a majority of MPs supported the motion after the four-hour debate, the vote is not binding on the Government.

The motion (right) was proposed by Anne Main, the Conservative MP for St Albans, who had secured a ‘backbench business’ debate in the House of Commons. Mrs Main, who has campaigned against the pilot culls, said that the culls should be halted and no further licences issued ‘until a full examination of the failings has been taken into account’. While she believed that many MPs may have previously supported the use of badger culling as part of a strategy to tackle bovine TB, ‘they did not give their Government permission to carry on regardless – regardless of humaneness, effectiveness or cost’.

Referring to the as yet unpublished report from the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which is assessing the effectiveness, safety and humaneness of the pilot culls, Mrs Main said that no-one appeared to be disputing the ‘comprehensive but leaked report’. Reports in the media in recent weeks have suggested that the IEP will state that the pilot culls failed on the grounds of humaneness and efficacy (VR, March 8, 2014, vol 174, p 234). ‘That this House believes that the pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have decisively failed against the criteria set out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in guidance to Natural England for licensing of the culls, which stipulated that 70 per …

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