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Backbench Business — Badger Cull

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 13th March 2014.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons 1:12 pm, 13th March 2014

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I will bear those comments in mind. Let me start by paying tribute to Mrs Main, whom I have the privilege of following. She has shown astounding bravery and dedication in turning up for this debate so quickly after major surgery.

This debate is important not just for wildlife, but for the cattle industry, the dairy industry and the farming industry more generally. We need to acknowledge that and put it on the table at the very beginning. We all acknowledge the importance of tackling bovine TB. The debate on this issue so far has, to some extent, been polarised, so today’s debate is an opportunity to bring the House together to forge a new consensus on how to tackle this difficult problem.

I wish to focus on three aspects of the debate. First, I wish to deal with how the outcomes of the recently completed pilot culls differ from and deviate from those of the randomised badger culling trial, which took place a few years ago. Secondly, given the time limits, I wish briefly to refer to the alternatives. Thirdly, I wish to refer to the Bow Group recommendations on how to proceed in the future, which are incredibly interesting and constructive.