Public pressure ended Welsh badger cull hopes - Minister

PUBLIC opinion gathered during last year’s election campaign put a stop to the Welsh badger cull.

Responding to delegate claims at NFU Cymru’s annual conference that bovine TB was ‘bleeding the industry to death’, Alun Davies, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister responsible for agriculture, said he understood the concerns — but made it clear there was no way there would be a badger cull under the present Welsh Government.

“It is clear there is a need to address TB both in wildlife and cattle and that you cannot eradicate the disease by bio-security alone,” he said.

“But let me also make it clear that when I campaigned for re-election there was no doorstep support from the Welsh people for a badger cull – none whatsoever.

“In fact, there was active opposition to the extent that if there had been a candidate in every constituency in Wales supporting a cull they would all have lost their deposits.

“It is a difficult truth, I understand that, but there is clearly not a majority either within the Welsh Assembly or within the Welsh population to go ahead with a badger cull at this time.

“The vaccination programme, which I know many farmers are cynical about, has started. We do not know yet what impact it will have – but we are the only administration in the UK currently tackling the disease in wildlife.

“We are completely in tune with public mood and the one thing you cannot do within a democracy is ride roughshod over public feelings.

“There is simply not a majority within the Assembly’s debating chamber to deliver the legislation for a cull.

“Quite bluntly, I know when I am flogging a dead horse. At the moment there is no political majority or public wish for a cull to proceed.”

Readers' comments (16)

  • There was no support for going to war when Labour were in Westminster. Selective hearing methinks !

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  • hey anonymous 10:55 good point.

    the war in iraq was really worthwhile wasn't it?

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  • For some reason, although logged in, my name was not displayed when I made the War comment. C'est la vie! Anyway, public opinion should not be used to determine the control of zoonotic diseases.

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  • The Peasant
    So the Welsh lunatics really are in charge of the asylum.

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  • If you want to rule by popularity and public opinion, then make all decisions based on referendums. Impractical and dangerous - not all decisions are popular but some should be taken nonetheless.

    A better comparison that the war might be taxes - I'm sure there's no public support for increasing taxes on households but somehow, they always manage to do it!

    Maintaining popularity to make sure that one is re-elected is unfortunately what it's about for career politicians. There's no inclination to get to grips with problems and sort them out in any way that might risk a loss of seat - and job. What would they do then in the real world?

    I must say, Alun Davies AM has come across as sensible (if constrained by his party's position) until now. A pity.

    Anyway, I thought the decision about the cull was based on a review of the scientific evidence........

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  • a good decision by someone who was not prepared to let farmers be led up the garden path. There is no place for culling badgers in the 21st century, when there are other methods to control Bovine TB and until we get a more reliable test for cattle,thats all we can do.

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  • ......................however there is a will to continue culling tens of thousands of cattle each year as, well, nobody is really bothered about cows, I mean, what do they do? they just hang around eating grass, providing us with milk or getting killed anyway so we eat them!

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  • The Peasant
    @ Anonymous | 5 November 2012 1:50 pm.
    You tell us "there are other methods to control Bovine TB". Please could you tell us what they are and where they are in use.

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  • Anyway, I thought the decision about the cull was based on a review of the scientific evidence........

    We could wish, but truth is tweeters, twitterers and under age groupies seem to have the day - at the moment.

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  • I wouldn't say there would be much door step support for paying tax.... This seems to be the style of todays politician, no sense of leadership, capability of rising to difficult decisions or weighting the voices they listen to. Just how many on the doorstep had a single clue about the complexity of TB.

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