Yesterday in Parliament, Geoffrey Cox MP secured a debate on bovine tb.
MP's of all persuasions questioned Ben Bradshaw on 'policy', and pointed out that his promised 'Autumn' statement was - well, a bit late for this year anyway. But then we've been used to prevarication for several years now. Do leopards change their spots? The Minister indicated that once again he was going to delay any announcement until John Bourne's interim report on the RBCT was published. He told the House that it was at present being peer reviewed, and that when the results were made public "the reason for his delaying would be made clear".
While not wishing to prejudge any momentous ministerial announcement, likely to be made on the last minute of this parliamentary session before Mr. Bradshaw goes off on his Christmas jollies, we can sense a problem here.
As Shadow minister, Owen Paterson MP pointed out, previous parliamentary questions (archived on this site) have extracted from the minister the efficiency - or not of Krebbs attempts to cull badgers.
Despite John Bourne's explanations to participating farmers that in both Reactive and Proactive areas the RBCT would: "Cull all badgers", the reality was that 57 percent of the traps were 'interfered with' and 12 percent disappeared. We have explored the maths of this before. But briefly from a target of 100 percent of badgers, in some cases the RBCT managed as little as 31 percent, which is confirmed by PQ's. At best cage trapping without badger activist intefernce only accounts for 80 percent of target.
However dear reader, it is for this (peer reviewed) 'work' that the minister is delaying his announcement. And it is on the basis of the RBCT 'results' that any decision to cull tb infected badgers will be made.
'Work' it has created for some. But the cost to the taxpayer, wildlife in general and badgers in particular, cattle and our country's reputation and disease status is - incalculable.
And 'science' it is not.
The minister has for long enough 'talked the talk', will he now 'walk the walk'? Not if his decision is based on the RBCT he won't.
The debate can be seen here.