Lord Rooker hints at badger cull to tackle TB
27 February 2007 - Farmers Weekly
Junior DEFRA minister JeffRooker has
strongly hinted that the government's solution to the problem of bovine
TB may be to lift the moratorium on the issuing of licences to cull
In a briefing to journalists at the NFU's annual conference, Lord Rooker suggested that the government might make an announcement as soon as May, once the IndependentScientific Group on TB has submitted its final report.
The minister claimed that the government had not made a final decision and discussions were still ongoing.
he stressed: There is existing legislation on the statute book that
does allow for action to be taken - we've just got to make sure that
the rules, parameters and structure are in place to help the farming
industry and hopefully not end up in court.
explained that while there was amoratorium on the issuing
ofculling licencessincethe Krebs trial commenced, it
was possible this would change in future.
It is a possibility
that that may come into play in some parts of the country, he said.
Although, in some parts of the country you might say no because the
incidence [of disease]is not enough to justify it on animal
health grounds or other issues.
Anthony Gibson, head of
communications for the NFU, said it was the clearest explanation yet of
what the government has in mind, although there were a lot of questions
It is quite clear they do have it in
mind, effectively giving the green light to farmers to apply for
licences as from whenever the ISG report is published."
But he added: Politically, this
could also be a trap - we are not going to let them wash their hands of
the whole situation and let farmers do their dirty work.
has got to be partnership - we're not accepting DEFRA washing its hands
of the whole thing. Its approach must be consistent with their whole
approach to animal health and welfare which is all about sharing costs
If a group of farmers applied for a licence we would expect that group to be given every assistance from DEFRA StateVeterinary Service officers.
The whole strategy about going about a badger cull has to be agreed
jointly between the DEFRA vets and the farmers doing the job. We simply
do not have the expertise to design a badger cull.