Press Release from The Badger Trust 14/3/11
Elin Jones, Rural Affairs Minister for Wales, has laid the above Order before the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG). This authorises the destruction of badgers in a specific area of west Wales known as the Intensive Action Area. Assembly Member Peter Black has laid a motion before the WAG, asking for a debate and vote on the draft Order in the hope of having this annulled. The debate and vote will take place on 30th March 2011 and if not annulled, the Order will come into force on 31st March 2011 which is the day on which the present Welsh Assembly Government members will stand down in readiness for the local elections in May.
Our legal team is looking at the evidence on which Elin Jones made her decision and we expect to have their initial thoughts on the possibility of a successful legal challenge by 18th March 2011. Meantime, we must all do everything we can to ensure that the existing AM’s and everybody standing for election to the WAG in May, are aware of the strength of feeling amongst members of the Welsh public.
We previously asked for your help with the consultation announced by Defra in September last year and we are, of course, still awaiting the outcome of that consultation which is expected to be announced in May. Although no decision has yet been made, we are confident that the assistance you all gave was really worthwhile and that working together made a tremendous difference to the number of responses made to the Defra consultation.
This is to ask if you will kindly help us again on behalf of those people in Wales who are opposed to the slaughter of badgers. The scientific evidence does not support the view that culling badgers will have a significant impact on the eradication of bovine TB. In addition, there are significant reductions in the incidence of bovine tuberculosis in Wales over the last two years without any badgers having been killed. The Minister seeks to underplay the significance of these results by claiming that there has been a cyclical pattern in the past. Badger Trust emphasises that this pattern was before the current stringent and effective cattle controls were introduced and took effect – measures which had been recommended by scientists as the only solution for some time. These measures included improved surveillance and cattle disease controls, linking compensation to good practice, enforcing the testing regime and establishing a regional approach to the disease. We have recommended these measures for some time and believe they should be given sufficient time to continue to make their impact before such draconian action as the destruction of badgers is contemplated.
We have very little time in which to act between now and the debate and vote on 30th March but one action which can and must be taken is to ensure that all Welsh residents eligible to vote in the forthcoming local elections, make their personal views on the culling of badgers known to their existing Assembly Member. They can do so either by post, e-mail or asking for an appointment at the AM’s surgery. They also need to lobby potential candidates to make their views known and to establish the views held by potential candidates on the slaughter of badgers. This action is an important part of the electoral process. If you live within Wales, then please circulate this e-mail as widely as possible to all your Welsh contacts. If you live outside Wales, then please forward this to anybody known to you living within the Principality. There is a link on the Home page of the Badger Trust website, to the website for Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (PAC) where much useful information is readily available. We have suggested to you before, that the impact of individually written letters should not be underestimated – the fact that somebody has taken the time to sit down to write in their own words how they view a proposed situation, is a very powerful tool. If you have contacts in Wales without internet access, perhaps you might consider ringing them or posting a copy of this note to ensure they know how to help.
Thank you for reading this and for your assistance. We will of course keep you informed of any future developments.
Chairman, Badger Trust.
Badger Trust is the only charity solely dedicated to the conservation of badgers across Great Britain.
PO Box 708, EAST GRINSTEAD, RH19 2WN
Tel: 08458 287878 Fax: 02380 233896
Registered charity no.1111440
Company registered in the UK No.5460677