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Backbench Business — Badger Cull

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 12:56 pm on 13th March 2014.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans 12:56 pm, 13th March 2014

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I know that passions are running high in this matter.

My hon. Friend Mr Harper must be psychic, because my next words were to be that no one appears to be disputing the comprehensive but leaked report. Whatever the detail, the dispute is about whether we pursue a failed policy, or adopt a new one.

As Professor Rosie Woodroffe, a scientist at the Zoological Society of London, said, the

“findings show unequivocally that the culls were not effective”.

I know that hon. Members say, “We haven’t seen the reports”, but that is not in dispute, unless the Minister whose desk the report has landed on says that it is not in the report. If so, I look forward to hearing it, but I believe what has been widely reported in the media after being leaked comprehensively.

I hope that the Secretary of State will now focus on other ways of eradicating TB in cattle. If predictions of the findings in the report are borne out, the cull

“has cost a fortune and probably contributed nothing in terms of disease control, which is really unfortunate.”

Those are the words of Rosie Woodroffe.

I am personally disappointed that a DEFRA spokesman has recently said:

“We knew there’d be lessons to be learned from the first year of the pilot culls which is why we’re looking forward to receiving the panel’s recommendations for improving the way they are carried out.”

If the House notes those comments carefully, it cannot hear the sound of any culls being stopped, but simply of them being improved. In other words, we are committed to finding a better killing strategy—[Interruption.] I am sorry, Madam Deputy Speaker, that is my phone—someone who obviously does not respect the—[Interruption.]