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Opinions divided after badger cull stopped

13 July 2010 - BBC News

After the appeal court halted the badger cull, its supporters and opponents gave their reactions:

AGAINST THE CULL

FOR THE CULL

Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (Pac)

They said the proposed cull was "hugely unpopular in north Pembrokeshire", had divided communities and had affected tourism. "The science does not support culling as TB actually increases in badgers as their social structure is disrupted. The costs of a badger cull far outweigh any small benefits. An injectable badger vaccine is now available this is now a very attractive alternative for reducing TB in Badgers. Vaccination works and as infected badgers die out the vaccination delivers similar results to culling at lower cost."

First Minister Carwyn Jones

The WAG were looking at the defeat in the courts which did not reflect poorly on Minister Elin Jones (elin.jones@wales.gov.uk). "It's important that we deal with TB in Wales because it's a growing problem" he said. "We will look at the judgment and we will decide how best to proceed. We will consider the implications of the judgment, but what's clear is that we cannot allow TB to increase year on year in Wales."

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

They said: "Research has repeatedly shown that the costs [of the cull] far outweigh the benefits and that culling badgers could make the situation worse. "Responses we have received show that the cull is also deeply unpopular amongst the general public and some landowners. It is also an unjustifiable cost in these times of financial austerity."

NFU Cymru

They said the decision to stop the cull was a "bitterly disappointing set-back". Stephen James, NFU Cymru's deputy president, said: "64% of herds in the Intensive Action Pilot Area (IAPA) have had bovine TB in the last six years and in the absence of an integrated approach to TB eradication this number will only increase. That means this insidious disease will continue to spread through the badger population; it will continue to wreck the lives of a growing number of farming families; more cattle and calves will be destroyed as a consequence of our failure to tackle the problem in its totality and more businesses will be ruined."

The Badger Trust

David Williams, Chairman of the Badger Trust, said: "Although some farmers may see this judgement as a setback, the massive body of rigorously peer-reviewed literature shows that killing badgers can play no meaningful part in the eradication of bovine TB and that robust cattle measures are sufficient."

Farmers' Union of Wales

The FUW described it as a "bitterly disappointing outcome". The focus must now be on looking at the judgement and drafting a further order so that moves to address the problem in badgers can go ahead. Farmers are doing their bit to control this disease, yet the court has decided that the most significant obstacle to controlling this disease, namely an highly infected badger population, cannot be addressed until further consideration of the facts is undertaken by the assembly's rural affairs minister."

Peter Black, Liberal Democrat AM for south Wales west

"Trials of a new badger vaccine are already under way in England and the minister should look at this method of control as a matter of urgency," he said. "I will be urging her (Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones) to initiate her own vaccination trial in the former-cull area alongside the cattle control measures she has already announced."

Nerys Evans, Plaid Cymru AM for mid and west Wales

"It is important that we recognise fully just how hard TB is hitting our farming industry, our rural communities and the Wales public finances generally," she said. "We're talking about tens of millions of pounds being paid in compensation every year because of this disease that has been allowed to rage unchallenged for far too long."

The RSPCA

The animal welfare charity said: "We do not believe that the science justifies it and we believe that vaccination, increased levels of testing, improved bio security and stricter controls on the movement of cattle are more sustainable and effective ways of reducing the incidence of bovine TB in cattle."

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA)

The BVA, said: "Whilst we are deeply disappointed with this judgement it is important to note that the Court of Appeal decision is based on the way the WAG came to its decision and not on the scientific evidence."
The BCVA TB Group, said: "It is important that the WAG, after consideration of the reasoning for the judgement made, continues to pursue the strategy of this broad, multi-faceted approach to bovine TB; one that should include the option of additional controls of infection in the badger population."

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