Tuesday, June 07, 2011

"My commitment is undiminished"

.. so said Defra Minister Jim Paice today (June 7th) in parliament.
That is his commitment to dealing with bTB which he described at the end of the debate, thus:
Finally, I come to the issue of tuberculosis. I am grateful for the words of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Torridge and West Devon about my personal commitment to the matter, which is completely and utterly undiminished. However, as he has said, we must get things right. A number of his presumptions about why we have not yet been able to make any final decision were accurate. We launched our consultation in September, and it concluded before Christmas. As I have said repeatedly in public, that consultation threw up some serious issues that must be dealt with because, as he rightly presumes, we would almost inevitably be faced with judicial review if we were to decide to go ahead with the badger cull. Several of those issues have taken some tackling. We are working with our own lawyers, and we have retained QCs to advise us. As he will know from his own eminent career, they have raised all sorts of issues to which we must have answers in the courtroom if the situation arises.

This sounds very much like an example of MPs being vociferous when in opposition, but treading water now they have the opportunity for some solid decision making. And that decision being the subject of a departmental musical chairs to determine ultimate responsibility with a disturbingly unquantified 'wider package of measures' thrown in to placate any wobblers.

Update. Link above mended. Apologies.

New link here which includes a piece on the BBC's "shall we let farmers murder / exterminate control badgers" questionnaire. The piece also includes an optimistic look at vaccination.
Perhaps if Defra's 'Other species' TB stats were more up to date and accurate, and perhaps if the public answering such questions were aware of the risk to them and theirs, their answers may have been somewhat different.

PR is vital, and with not a little assistance from the spinning axis of the BBC, FERA and Defra, farmers are losing that battle. The public are increasingly divorced from reality, assuming that bTB is limited to badgers or cattle - and probably just cattle. Meanwhile TB overspill is costing the lives of hundreds of their pets and companion animals, as we discussed here.

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