Not satisfied with wanting foxes, stags, deer and hares to be hunted legally by pledging support for the repeal of the Hunting Act, Hastings and Rye MP, Amber Rudd, now wants to see Britain’s beloved badgers killed next.
On November 29 I wrote to Amber this letter on the government’s proposed badger cull. I concluded,
I ask respectfully that you reply by stating clearly your position on this issue, including whether you are for or against the government’s proposed badger cull and why.
As is clear from her response reproduced in full below, her failure to answer directly my question can only mean she supports the government’s plan to kill badgers. If, indeed, this is incorrect I invite Amber to email me directly. I pledge to publish in full here any clarification of her position.
Thank you for contacting me about the control of bovine TB.
Bovine TB is having a devastating effect on many farm businesses and families. Thousands of cattle are slaughtered each year at huge financial and emotional cost to farmers. Last year over 25,000 cattle were slaughtered in England because of the disease.
The cost to the taxpayer of controlling bovine TB in England was over £63million in 2009/10 (excluding scientific research). These costs are rising year by year. Eradicating bovine TB is our long term goal, but it is clear that the approach to date has failed. We need to take additional measures urgently to stop the disease spreading and to start to reverse the rising trend.
No single measure will be enough to tackle the disease on its own. We need to use every tool in the toolbox. However, the science is clear, there is no doubt that badgers are a significant reservoir for the disease and without taking action to control the disease in them, it will continue to spread. That is why the Coalition Government committed, as part of a package of measures, to developing affordable options for a carefully-managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine TB.
Defra is currently running a public consultation on “Bovine Tuberculosis: The Government’s approach to tackling the disease and consultation on a badger control policy”. This consultation will run until 8 December.
A decision on our approach will be taken following the consultation on badger control. The Government intends to publish a comprehensive and balanced bovine TB eradication programme early in 2011.