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MPs urge rethink on Welsh TB cull

21 July 2008 - BBC News

Nine MPs, eight of them Welsh Labour, want the Welsh Assembly Government to halt plans to cull badgers. The MPs have tabled a Commons motion congratulating English Farming Minister Hilary Benn for refusing requests to cull badgers to tackle TB in cattle.

Their motion hopes Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones will "return to an evidence-based approach." ... The MPs include former assembly leader Alun Michael, who said: "The evidence is the same for England and Wales."

Mr Michael, the MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, who has been Westminster rural affairs minister and was the assembly leader between 1999 - 2000, said: "Wales has every right to take a different decision. The problem is that the border is very long and porous and depending where a cull was taking place, you could disperse badgers across the border in a way that might help make things worse. All the evidence shows there's a danger of a cull probably making things worse by dispersing badgers and that's why a decision taken in Wales could have implications across the border and not just be bad for farmers in Wales but bad for farmers in England too."

... He added: "It's difficult to shake that belief because it is so strongly held but the science of the evidence contradicts it. My plea is for really for [Elin Jones] to return to the science and the evidence because I think that will encourage her in the direction of not proceeding with the cull."

The other Welsh MPs to sign the motion are: Martyn Jones (Clwyd South), Hywel Francis (Aberavon), Madeleine Moon (Bridgend), Paul Flynn (Newport West), Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd), Don Touhig (Islwyn) and Chris Bryant (Rhondda). It is also signed by Conservative Worthing MP Peter Bottomley. ...

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