Two reports summarising the responses to the consultation on bovine
TB and badger culling were published by Defra today.
The first report summarises 47,000 written responses of which:
- 95% of respondents were opposed to a cull of badgers
- 50% of interested organisations were against a cull
- 41% of interested organisations were for a cull (9% did
not give a view or gave a neutral response).
The second report summarises the Citizens Panels ( which were held to
consider the issue. Participants did not reach a decision lightly, firstly
because of the lack of conclusive evidence, and secondly because of
the scale of impact of a decision either way.
The outcome of these panels included:
- Through discussion in groups the view was marginally in
favour of a cull but with many conditions
- When asked individually there was a 50/50 even split in
opinion for and against a cull
- Participants also made clear that it was important that
all parties to the debate should be working together towards the solution,
rather than against each other.
Animal Health & Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw said:
“The consultation has been invaluable in helping Ministers hear from
all sides of the debate - farmers, conservationists, scientists, vets
and the wider public.
This is clearly an emotive subject that strongly divides opinion. But
what is clear is that respondents broadly agree that any decision on culling
must be based on a sound scientific and practical foundation.”
A significant reduction in new bovine TB cases in cattle has been recorded
over the past six months. The reasons for the fall are not yet clear but
are being investigated. Ministers have said that they will base a decision
on badger culling on a sound scientific and practical foundation and are
not yet in a position to do this.
We will work closely in the coming months with all interested groups
to try to establish a shared understanding of the facts so that we can
take decisions that are sustainable and practicable in the long term.
We are not ruling anything in or out at this stage. Our trials of potential
badger culling methods will continue and we are continuing to consider
the organisation and practicability of a potential badger cull.
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