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Welsh Liberal Democrat AMs call on Minister to halt badger cull in light of judicial review

January 13, 2010 12:00 AM

Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Members, Peter Black and Jenny Randerson have attacked the decision of the Rural Affairs Minister to give the go ahead for a cull of badgers in the North Pembrokeshire area whilst a judicial view of the decision is still pending.

The Badger Trust has challenged the decision in the courts on the grounds that it is unjust and goes against the scientific evidence. Mr. Black tabled a motion in the Assembly to try and stop the cull and is shocked that the Minister is ignoring the legal challenge and is going ahead with preparations when the courts have still to rule on the matter. Jenny Randerson supported him in this bid and voted to stop the cull.

"Although some members of the Welsh Liberal Democrats support this cull it is not and never has been party policy," said Mr. Black. "I have been approached by a lot of party members who are not happy with the decision and who are opposed to it. I have also received a large number of representations from the general public who do not support this cull, many of whom come from North Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion itself, most from landowners and some from people with livestock of their own or significant experience of managing cattle.

"Many have pointed out that badger culling is not cost effective. The amount of cattle TB prevented by culling is miniscule compared to effective cattle controls. If you test and remove TB effectively from cattle then badger TB declines. That is a fact."

Jenny Randerson added: "It is the case that culling has been tried elsewhere and abandoned. Even the Republic of Ireland is considering abandoning its cull because, although a reduction in bTB rates in cattle has been evident, the rate of decline has been no better than in Northern Ireland where effective management of herds and control has also had an impact.

"In England, on the basis of the same evidence available to our Minister, a decision has been taken not to have a cull. Why is it that two different Ministers can come to different conclusions when faced with the same facts?

"The Minister should respect the judicial process and halt her preparations until the latest challenge is resolved."