The MP who is working with the Zoological Society of London to introduce the first community-led badger vaccination trial across 200 km2 of Penwith peninsula in his constituency has challenged the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, to provide evidence that there’s “no point” in the project.
Mr George, MP for the West Cornwall constituency of St Ives, was speaking in the Commons this afternoon when the Secretary of State issued his statement on the recent badger culling pilots.
Mr George said:
“This was a less substantial Government climbdown than was implied by the evidence. Clearly the Conservatives have left themselves room to go back to making up policy on the hoof; it’s only a one year stay of execution for badgers outside of the two pilot areas.
“The Conservatives don’t seem to understand that the badger cull policy runs the very high risk of making the situation much worse.
“The Secretary of State’s twaddle about there being “no point” in vaccinating badgers in bovine TB (bTB) hotspot areas is not supported by the science. Of course vaccination has no impact on infected badgers, but overall the Government’s own trials have demonstrated the benefits.
“The reason he doesn’t want vaccination projects in bTB hotspot areas is simply because he wants to keep the barn door open to advancing the mass extermination of badgers in those areas next year; even though that is more likely to worsen the prevalence of bTB than it is to improve the situation.
“I had intended to graciously congratulate the Secretary of State on the announcement that there’d be no roll out, but it became clear that he was going to ignore the evidence and has just postponed the cull roll-out until after the next election; another reason not to vote Conservative…”