Round 2 to Team Badger
Parliamentary Milestone Could Herald End of Cull Threat
Thursday 25th October 2012. Parliament. London.
The Chamber of the House of Commons, scene of some of the great political events in British history, witnessed a lively, well-informed and potentially decisive debate yesterday.
The subject? Whether or not to abandon plans to cull thousands of badgers.
The result? A resounding 147 votes in favour of cancelling the cull (already postponed to mid 2013) and just 28 votes in support of its continuation.
The press response was overwhelming and here are a few headlines:
- Commons debate, following 150,000 strong e-petition, strikes blow at Government plan to slaughter badgers – Guardian
- MP’s vote delivers blow to controversial badger cull plan – Independent
- MPs voted overwhelmingly by 147 votes to 28, in favour of a motion calling on the UK government to abandon its cull entirely – BBC News
- Government plans for a badger cull suffered a blow today – This is Gloucestershire
While non-binding, the strength of cross-party Parliamentary opinion clearly reflects the mood in the country and widespread concerns about the cull’s lack of scientific credibility.
The debate, initiated by Caroline Lucas MP (Green), saw speaker after speaker carefully articulate reasons why, at best, a cull would only slow the rate of increase of bovine TB in cattle and would not even bring about a drop in cases.
All MPs expressed their deep concern for the impact of the disease on cattle and members of the farming community, but the overwhelming majority recognised that the situation was unlikely to improve as a result of badger culling.
Born Free, a member of Team Badger, led by Queen guitar legend Brian May, feels that the result is an opportunity to bring all stakeholders together in a ‘one nation‘ approach to tackle and eradicate bTB.
Will Travers, who attended the debate for BFF, said: “I think we now have a unique opportunity for politicians of all persuasions, NGOs and the farming community to work together to speed up the EU authorizations necessary for effective cattle and badger vaccinations to be implemented as a matter of urgency. The sooner we can secure these permissions the sooner we can begin to really end the scourge of bTB without badgers being harmed. ”
He concluded on a precautionary note: “We must not get carried away but it’s a great boost to our campaign. I hope the Government will now join us and help deliver the result we all want – an end to bTB and a badger population free from persecution and fear. “