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.”