MP supports scientific badger control measures

Neil Parish says bovine TB has destroyed livelihoods in Devon.

THE MP for Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish, has revealed he supports new scientific badger control measures announced by the Government.

A public consultation has been launched by the coalition on a range of measures to combat Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) in cattle.

n 2005, at the conclusion of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, it was established that badgers are a major source of TB infection in cattle and that a scientifically-led cull of badgers would, if done the right way, decrease the number of outbreaks of Bovine TB in livestock.

“We cannot approach a problem as serious as this from only one direction,” said Mr Parish, a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

“We have to use every tool in the box and I am glad to see that this Government is taking the necessary steps to control Bovine TB.

“It is a disease that has devastated livestock in Devon and destroyed livelihoods.

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“However, it is more than just the economic cost. People living and working in the countryside have lost faith in politics, after being so neglected by the previous Labour Government.”

Mr Parish added: “I hope that by taking the right action now to eradicate Bovine TB, we are not just protecting rural businesses, but also showing farmers that this Government does understand the needs of the countryside.”

Devon is a Bovine TB hotspot and in 2009, in the South West alone, 15,700 infected cattle were culled and it has cost the taxpayer over �63 million in England.

The Agriculture Minister, Jim Paice MP, has announced a range of measures that would both prevent the spread of Bovine TB through tighter herd movement regulation and annual testing of cattle as well as issuing licences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 to enable farmers and landowners to cull badgers, at their own expense. Under the Government’s new proposal, they will be able to use vaccination either on its own or in combination with culling. Licences would be subject to strict criteria to ensure culling is carried out effectively, humanely and with high regard to animal welfare.