The CLA today (3 April 2014) expressed its immense disappointment that Environment Secretary Owen Paterson felt unable to sanction an imminent roll-out of the badger cull programme as part of the fight against Bovine TB (bTB).
However, CLA President Henry Robinson said he understands why Mr Paterson has had to pay attention to the Independent Expert Panel’s report, and said the CLA also needs time to consider the report’s detailed contents.
Mr Robinson said Mr Paterson had made it clear that the pilot culls’ roll-out had not been abandoned. Instead, the culls were being improved before being rolled out in other areas.
“It is extremely disappointing for the farming community that the Environment Secretary felt he could not roll out the culls immediately using the recommendations of the Independent Expert Panel. We have no doubt, however, that Mr Paterson is fully committed to culling to help tackle the terrible scourge of bTB which is a daily nightmare for many of our farming members.”
If no action was taken Mr Robinson warned it would cost Britain £1billion over the next 10 years. He said the CLA also appreciated the wider package of measures the Minister was putting in place to tackle bTB.
“We must not forget that the Independent Expert Panel’s report focused only on the methodology, not the necessity, of the cull. The cull is vital to bringing bTB under control, and cutting badger numbers is an essential part of the strategy.
“The Environment Secretary is right to welcome the Panel’s contribution and take some time to consider its views and develop an enhanced programme of culling for all the affected areas. We would, however, like more clarification from the Panel on how some of its conclusions were reached and how some statements are supported statistically.
He added: “The CLA will continue to work with the Government to ensure the aims of Defra’s newly released bTB eradication strategy are met, including culling in all the affected areas, and that this takes place as soon as possible.”