Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wales cuts the tow rope

For some time now we have assumed that England's proposed badger culls would piggy back the Judicial Review piloted by the Welsh Assembly Government(WAG). Particularly as the revised operating procedures for Wales included free shooting and ring vaccination, which was Defra's preferred Option 6 in the English consultation.

But this week, the new Welsh Assembly Government decided to put on hold the current plans, and re examine 'the science' behind them. We will resist the opportunity to comment on that piece of spin. This time.

So where does that leave England? Defra minister Jim Paice MP, is treading water just as fast as he can paddle, with mentions of higher up 'decision makers' and 'public opinion' coming thick and fast. The minister's commitment may be undiminished but his boss, having had her chain saw confiscated, is unlikely to be seen waving a dead badger around any time soon.
And his ultimate boss, the Boy King, has an irritating habit of 'U' turns at the slightest hint of public dissent.

We also hear from Jan Rowe, a member of the T-BEG , that a holistic approach will be considered. Mr Rowe said he was ‘still pretty confident’ Ministers will give the go ahead to the cull.
“But I think we will be expected to do quite a lot, including some quid pro quo tightening of cattle measures, and the rules will be very tight,” he said.
That latin expression quid pro quo (or something given up for something in exchange) strikes a chord in our memories, (and sends a shiver of apprehension down our collective spines) if not in T-BEG's. The Welsh farmers have already had the screws tightened with this 'holistic' approach. And extra cattle measures have now left them high and very dry. And in December 2005, we reported a similar shafting negotiation on behalf of English farmers, as industry representatives delivered preMT and tabular valuation, while Defra delivered - precisely nothing.

So what now for England, as the WAG cull and subsequent court case looks set to stall? It is our gut feeling that Defra will flunk it. As they and their predecessors have done so many times before. Thus the increasing environmental contamination will affect even more pets and companion mammals than it is doing now.
And in doing so, it will bring tuberculosis straight to the general public's hearthrug.

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